ARC celebrates newest U.S.-flag Ro-Ro vessel M/V Liberty
In a ceremony in the Port of Charleston, American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) christened the M/V Liberty, welcoming one of the most versatile and militarily-useful ships to the U.S.-flag commercial fleet, along with close friends and allies from the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, maritime labor, and a myriad of customers and business partners, the company said in its press release.
Formerly the M/V Topeka, M/V Liberty was re-flagged to American registry on January 31 as the eighth Ro-Ro vessel in ARC’s fleet. The reflag was conducted by the Coast Guard in the port of Bremerhaven, Germany. The vessel is enrolled in the Maritime Security Program (MSP), the bedrock Congressional maritime readiness program, and the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA). Consistent with past practice to name ARC ships after American values, she was renamed M/V Liberty.
Mr. Ebeling referenced the decline of the U.S.-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, but noted “with this incredible 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.” In her remarks, Secretary Chao concurred, adding “I know of no better public-private partnership” than MSP.
M/V Liberty is 199.99m long with a beam of 32.26m. The stern opening is 15.2m wide and 5.2m high, with a stern ramp rated for cargo up to 237 metric tons. The vessel is among the most capable and militarily-useful vessels in the U.S.-flag commercial fleet, able to carry tracked vehicles, helicopters, trucks and other military and high and heavy project cargoes.
ARC is the largest U.S.-flag Ro-Ro carrier, and the third largest U.S.-flag carrier operating in international trade. Founded in 1990, the company provides American-owned, managed, and crewed Ro-Ro shipping services committed to the requirements of the Department of Defense, other U.S. government departments and agencies, and commercial customers. ARC headquarters are in New Jersey, with an additional principal office in Germany.