TRANSCOM officials are still reviewing the results of the turbo activation, but initial reports indicate that between 80 percent and 85 percent of the ships targeted to participate were able to successfully meet the underway evaluation criteria, Navy Capt. Kevin Stephens, a TRANSCOM spokesman, told USNI News. (1)
To briefly review, here’s a description of the exercise.
Overall, 33 surge sealift ships left Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf Coast ports last month as part of the turbo activation. Most of the ships were part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) Ready Reserve Force. …
The purpose of the test was to gauge how effectively the Ready Reserve Force – the fleet of civilian-operated ships that would be called upon to deliver personnel and equipment – could be activated in an emergency. The ships have five days to be fully crewed and set sail for what is typically between a three and five-day sea trial. The turbo activation involved nearly 1,000 merchant marines who were called to work on ships usually maintained by skeleton crews. At sea, each ship has between 30 and 40 crew members. (1)
The question, of course, is whether a 80%-85% success rate is good or bad. It’s supposed to be 100% success but that’s unrealistic. There will always be some unexpected breakdowns that prevent sailing. On the other hand, these ships are supposed to be checked and maintained on a regular basis, as I understand it, so even one failure to sail should not happen. So, is that fact that several ships were unable to sail acceptable?
I guess I’d call the result disappointingly average. It’s not horrible – 50% success would be horrible – but it’s not great. What do you think? Good or bad?
(1)USNI News website, “TRANSCOM Stress Test Practiced Cargo Delivery Through Mine- and Sub-Filled Waters”, Ben Werner, 16-Oct-2019,https://news.usni.org/2019/10/16/transcom-stress-test-practiced-cargo-delivery-through-mine-and-sub-filled-waters