March 17: Round up of vessels involved in the US Navy response to Haiti quake emergency: Shortly after the full scope of the disaster became known, the US Military Sealift Command (MSC) activated the hospital ship USNS COMFORT in just 77 hours with a crew of 67 civil service mariners, 560 medical personnel and 110 support personnel. From the Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force, replenishment oiler USNS BIG HORN was also joined by MSC dry cargo/ammunition ships USNS SACAGAWEA and USNS LEWIS AND CLARK to support the USS CARL VINSON and USS BATAAN and USS NASSAU. The MSC rescue and salvage ship USNS GRASP was among the first ships on scene clearing the Port-au-Prince harbor of damaged containers and debris from the earthquake. The MSC oceanographic survey ship USNS HENSON was involved in surveying the harbor floor and identifying potential hazards to ships bringing relief supplies assisted by the USNS SUMNER. The USNS 1ST LT JACK LUMMUS carried specialized U.S. Marine Corps construction equipment and supplies, while sister ship USNS PFC DEWAYNE T WILLIAMS also brought equipment and support capability for Navy cargo handlers. The crane-ship SS CORNHUSKER STATE sailed to Haiti to assist with movement of relief supplies to shore from cargo ships unable to use the damaged port. SS CAPE MAY, a sea barge clipper class vessel, delivered Seabee construction equipment, three sets of lighterage and a roll-on/roll-off discharge facility to move equipment and supplies ashore. MARAD also activated two high-speed ferries from the National Defense Reserve Fleet for MSC operation, MV HUAKAI and MV ALAKAI were being used to ferry personnel, vehicles and supplies between Jacksonville and Haiti.
MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his works has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York, London and Iceland. Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum has commissioned artworks and collected his photographs.