New Jersey-based American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) christened M/V Liberty, a 2006-built pure car and truck carrier (PCTC), in Charleston on June 2.
The 6,350 car equivalent units (CEU) vessel joined the company’s fleet earlier this year.
Featuring a length of 200 meters and a width of 32.3 meters, Liberty is able to carry tracked vehicles, helicopters, trucks and other military and high and heavy project cargoes and will be enrolled in the Maritime Security Program (MSP) and the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA).
“On behalf of the US Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration, I congratulate the ARC team and welcome M/V Liberty to the MSP fleet,” Elaine Chao, the US Secretary of Transportation, said on the occassion.
“Liberty’s entry into the MSP has substantially increased our ability to meet key US Department of Defense (DOD) force projection requirements. And Liberty is the eighth ARC vessel to enter the MSP, joining seven others already in service. So let me also acknowledge the contributions of ARC to the MSP, national defense, and the US Merchant Marine,” Chao added.
Formerly named Topeka, Liberty was re-flagged to American registry on January 31. The re-flagging was conducted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in the Port of Bremerhaven, Germany.
Eric Ebeling, ARC President & CEO, referenced the decline of the US-flag fleet over the past years from approximately 120 ships to the current 81 vessels, as cargo volumes have declined due to the changing overseas military footprint, lack of a fully functioning Ex-Im Bank, and other factors. However, Ebeling noted that “with this … partnership between industry, labor, DOT and DOD… there is good cause for optimism for the renewal of the fleet, as represented by this great ship we’re celebrating here today.”