Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau Fuels at Sea

PACIFIC OCEAN – The Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau conducted a fueling-at-sea (FAS) evolution with a navy oiler Sunday in the Pacific Ocean.

Replenishments-at-sea (RAS) and fueling-at-sea (FAS) are common, but critical operations that the Coast Guard and U.S. Naval vessels undergo when transiting long distances and during periods between scheduled port stops. The replenishments are scheduled and organized in advance for a U.S Navy oiler or friendly foreign supply ship to meet with the surface ship at a pre-determined time and location in the ocean. U.S. Navy Oilers are always at sea to support U.S. military vessels. The Military Sealift Command operates 43 such vesels in the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force.

This evolution was an all-hands event aboard the Morgenthau. The cutter crewmembers started preparing for this evolution two days in advance. Crewmembers began the set up and were prepared to start the evolution 45 minutes prior to the scheduled meeting. The whole evolution lasted approximately three hours, and the Morgenthau took in approximately 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

The 378-foot cutter came alongside the starboard (right) side of the 678-foot USNS Tippecanoe. The cutter matched course and speed with the oiler, but kept a safe distance. Using a span wire, the Tippecanoe sent over an oil hose with a probe to Morgenthau’s port (left) side fueling station. Once the probe was seated properly, the signal was given and the fueling began. Throughout the evolution, both ships traveled approximately 12 knots and maintained 120 to 150 feet of separation between them.

“This is a very dangerous evolution,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class William Conable, a machinery technician aboard the Morgenthau. “In an emergency the break away takes approximately 10 minutes. You have to two vessels moving at approximately 11 knots with 1,300 gallons per minute of diesel fuel pumping from one vessel to the other. Every crewmember has gone through extensive training for this evolution and the engineering and deck force department are prepared to meet the challenge,” he said.

Morgenthau, a high endurance cutter homeported in Alameda, is participating in the exercises Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and South East Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEA-CAT) 2008. This represents the 14th time the U.S. Coast Guard has participated in these bilateral training exercises.

This year, CARAT will be hosted in the countries of Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Morgenthau will be acting as the lead unit for most of the security boarding team events that include visits, boardings, search and seizure exercises, and legal discussions. The focus is to foster cooperation between the various nation’s naval and Coast Guard forces.

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