Transshelf Location not reported

Is it customary to not report vessel locations due to its cargo ?
Transshrelf’s cargo is the USS Fitzgerald.

It left Japan a few days ago. It was transmitting. They’re headed through expanded Panama Canal. I heard the canal authority didn’t want her in the locks because they were worried about damaging Fitz’s bulb hanging off the back. They literally suggested putting a “condom” on it.

USS won’t report her position outside of traffic areas. Her auxiliary is likely required to do the same.

Paranoia about secrecy is no monopoly for the US Navy.
I was involved in the transport and off-loading of a submarine for the Singapore Navy a few years ago and can attest to the fact that they were no less restrictive.

So where does the Panama Canal traffic area begin ?

The USS Fitzgerald is now just a piece of cargo on the deck of a HLV. It should be up to the Master of Transshelf ro decide on when to transmit AIS signals, or when not to.

PS> Do we know for a fact that she is heading for the Panama Canal and not going around Cape of Good Hope, or Cape Horn for security reasons?? The Fitz would be vulnerable in either the Panama or Suez Canal. (Local authorities may not allow US armed guards during passage of either)

A warship crippled in a cradle at sea is a sitting duck. She’s owned by the most risk-adverse country in the world. A ramming run by a derelict tuna trawler against Transshelf could be a devastating mess. There’s a lot to be afraid of from a force protection standpoint.

I’d imagine the customer (US Navy) has in place operating restrictions on the provider including electronic emission control.

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Paranoia prevail in the military of all nations, not only the US Navy.

The possibility that some terrorists should hijack a Tuna Seiner or any other vessel to ram the Transshelf in open sea is miniscule. An attack when transiting the Panama or Suez Canal would be more of a worry in my book, hence my question if they would actually use either??

Legally the cargo carried on a HLV is treated like any other cargo according to the standard Heavycon contract, but it is not unlikely that the US Navy as negotiated different terms for this and other transport carried out on their behalf. The Master is still the ultimate authority, regardless.

The odds of being killed in an aircraft terrorist attack are minuscule but that doesn’t prevent airport security from patting down your crotch.

An attack in the canals would be hard to execute and would be more spectacular then destructive. I contend that a fortified trawler or two rammed into Transshelf would be harder to defend against and could result in both ships going to the bottom in very deep water.

One would hope so (but I doubt it).

Any data as to the current Transshelf general location ?

According to Maasmond Newsletter yesterday the Transshelf has arrived in Panama:

Anybody know if the Transshelf have reached it destination yet??

Anybody around there that can report on the discharging operation??

Be interesting how they get her into Ingalls. The channel and harbor there aren’t very deep, I wonder if they’ll take their drydock out beyond the barrier islands to load it there, or do some dredging in the harbor to make it deep enough?

Anyone know how they did it for the Cole?

IIRC, they took her off outside and towed the Cole in to the yard. We were in Pascagoulia loading at the time.

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I found this video with pictures of Transshelf in Gatun Lake and an estimate that she’ll be arriving today:

As far as I know there is a “deep hole” already dredged for the purpose of loading/offloading rigs.
According to the Master and Mate on the Blue Marlin they were eventually allowed in there to do the offload of the USS Cole.

The Fitz can float and be towed over short distance.
She was towed from the base to the loading position in Tokyo Bay.

Ah yeah that’s true.

Probably float her right off the barrier islands then tow her in through the channel then.

I’m not sure if that hole is still there, they have a spot where they flood down their dry dock in the middle of the river, but it’s just about enough to get a DDG or LPD off the dock, and not much more. You might not need much more to get Fitz off the Transshelf though, I’m not well versed in HLV offloading.

The Transshelf is 12 m. deep to cargo deck:

I don’t know the cribbing details, or the draft of the Fitz, but most like 20 -21 m. water depth (incl. 1.0 m. UKC) is required during off-load.
PS> Max. submersed draft; 22 m.

The Fitz will be floated off over stern and the propeller blades have been removed, so assume no protrusion below base line.

Not much in terms of sea and no swell allowed during off-load. Max. wind 15 kts. is normal limit.