Russia Sees Value of Merchant Marine

From Reuters via Maritime Executive this morning:

[I]Buying old cargo ships gives Moscow more control than contracting out its transport to commercial carriers, said Gerry Northwood, chief operations officer with British maritime security firm MAST.
[/I]
[I]“By expanding their merchant fleet, the Russians are possibly seeking to bring the heavy lift of armaments and other equipment destined for Syria under direct government control,” he said.[/I]
[I]“It does afford a bit of protection - they are Russian flagged. It is likely they will put armed personnel on board and will be robust about their immediate security,” said Northwood, a former Royal Navy captain with experience commanding British warships.[/I]
[I]At the same time, the auxiliary ships can still be used for commercial business, and do not have to operate under the same restrictions as fully-fledged warships in foreign ports.[/I]
[I]“Not being military will allow the vessels greater freedom of movement. It will not always be necessary for them to seek diplomatic clearance for them to enter foreign ports,” Northwood said.[/I]

Meanwhile, American politicians are working overtime for lobbyists to gut the US merchant marine and the military lets the RRF rot rather than carry US military cargo.

You’d think they would have learned a lesson from the shaky roll out of the RRF during Desert Storm.

Off topic, but I’d love to see a sudden order for every ready reserve ship to actually sail in whatever time frame they claim to be in. There would be big bucks made for tug companies that week.

[QUOTE=z-drive;175548]Off topic, but I’d love to see a sudden order for every ready reserve ship to actually sail in whatever time frame they claim to be in. There would be big bucks made for tug companies that week.[/QUOTE]

That’s what happened during DS. Our barge was in the shipyard and we towed a couple of ships back in to port and some back to anchorage. made plenty of OT that hitch.

[QUOTE=z-drive;175548]Off topic, but I’d love to see a sudden order for every ready reserve ship to actually sail in whatever time frame they claim to be in. There would be big bucks made for tug companies that week.[/QUOTE]

And that is precisely why the f-ing DOD should be made to use the things on a regular basis. Keep the ships and the mariners working.

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[QUOTE=lm1883;175551]Looks like the Russians hired someone from MARAD as a consultant, because they bought old laid up junk.[/QUOTE]

If they used a MARAD consultant they would have sold the ships they already had and paid another consultant to hire a FoC ship.

They bought old junk because it was dirt cheap and available.

They bought laid up old junk because, like us, they didn’t have enough merchant vessels to support the military. Actually we probably would have enough if the DOD and the rest of the government used American ships and mariners instead of trying to get rid of them.

Russia doesn’t have access to allied ship’s. When are USA going to remember that they are in NATO?

[QUOTE=Kraken;175570]Russia doesn’t have access to allied ship’s. When are USA going to remember that they are in NATO?[/QUOTE]

??? WTF is that about?

[QUOTE=Steamer;175572]??? WTF is that about?[/QUOTE]

You gays talk about the importance of access to shipping and I just point out the difference between Russian and American access to it.

Maybe a bit out of place :slight_smile: sorry about that.

[QUOTE=Steamer;175561]And that is precisely why the f-ing DOD should be made to use the things on a regular basis. Keep the ships and the mariners working.[/QUOTE]

you know Steamer that I have often wondered if there is even any statute what prevents all RRF ships to be actively carrying DoD cargoes or if it is just some “policy” in place since the RRF was formulated in the late 1970’s? Why the FUCK aren’t RRF ships all operating for the DoD? I know on several occassions MSC has has MarAd break out an RRF ship to carry some special cargo so I do not believe there is any prohibition.

[QUOTE=c.captain;175581]you know Steamer that I have often wondered if there is even any statute what prevents all RRF ships to be actively carrying DoD cargoes or if it is just some “policy” in place since the RRF was formulated in the late 1970’s? Why the FUCK aren’t RRF ships all operating for the DoD? I know on several occassions MSC has has MarAd break out an RRF ship to carry some special cargo so I do not believe there is any prohibition.[/QUOTE]

Its MSP. Check out the RRF use in Desert Storm (maybe by means of Wikipedia) and the the initial MSP laws of 1996 (everyone liked the roros). Real question is why RRF is still around beyond government bureaucracy.

Don’t kid yourself. We are NATO. Europe’s militaries have been so gutted that they are a joke. Without US military might NATO is a paper kitten.

[QUOTE=Kraken;175570]Russia doesn’t have access to allied ship’s. When are USA going to remember that they are in NATO?[/QUOTE]

Most of our allies no longer have strong merchant fleets either.

[QUOTE=Capt. Phoenix;175595]Most of our allies no longer have strong merchant fleets either.[/QUOTE]

Norway has still the framework in place to activate Nortraship.

[QUOTE=lm1883;175591]That’s true. I think the UK is the only other country in NATO that spends the recommended 2% of GDP on defense. Of course it’s handy they don’t because it allows us to influence European policy both foreign and domestic.[/QUOTE]

http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-calls-for-rise-in-defence-spending-by-alliance-members-1434978193

You cannot use USA as a benchmark on military spending because your spending is out of control. Most nations don’t need the ability to invade every shithole on earth.

[QUOTE=Kraken;175601]Norway has still the framework in place to activate Nortraship.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-calls-for-rise-in-defence-spending-by-alliance-members-1434978193

You cannot use USA as a benchmark on military spending because your spending is out of control. Most nations don’t need the ability to invade every shithole on earth.[/QUOTE]

True and if it is not a shit hole it will be when the USA finishes. The Roman Empire, the United Kingdom, Soviet Union all bankrupted themselves with overspending on the military and empire building. Sooner rather than later so will the USA.

[QUOTE=lm1883;175626]I had a conversation with a Norwegian about this about a month ago. He was laughing because the vessels that Norway would activate would probably have Russian officers on them.[/QUOTE] Norway has the second larges and most modern fleet of offshore vessels in the world, and it’s more or less completely manned with Northern European Officers. This alone makes Norway more valuable as a allied then most of the other small nations in NATO.

[QUOTE=lm1883;175626]Irrelevant. Norway is spending 1.4% of GDP ($7B total) not the benchmark of 2% (about $2B more). I don’t know how many times you’ve mentioned that Trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund and your telling me your country can’t kick in another two billion for your own defense? Good thing we have a military that can invade every shit hole on earth, because we will need it to defend Norway.[/QUOTE]

Although we do not use 2% of GDP, we manage to upgrade the Air Force with F-35, and the navy has AEGIS vessels, and the coming years we will upgrade the submarines. Norway has a modern and pretty decent military force.

The big difference between European military spending and the US military spending, is that the social costs associated with personnel is covered in other budget posts. And it does not help that the United States has led two wars on the other side of the earth the last decade.

I do not think you need to worry over Europe’s defenses.