USS Merrimack AO-179    LAST VOYAGE
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Photo by Robert M. Cieri         ...See  FACEBOOK     NAVSOURCE      WIKIPEDIA
Tug Elsbeth III to tow Merrimack from James River Reserve Fleet
Cimarron Class Fleet Oiler: Laid down, 16 July 1979, at Avondale Shipyards, New Orleans, LA.
Launched, 17 May 1980;   Commissioned USS Merrimack (AO-179), 14 November 1981;     Decommissioned, 18 December 1998
Title transfer to the Maritime Administration (MARAD), 18 December 1998 for lay up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet, James River, VA

Specifications:    Displacement 11,645 t.(lt) 37,840 t.(fl)      Length 708'      Beam 88'      Draft 32' (max.)      Speed 20 kts.      Complement 15 Officers, 318 Enlisted
Armament Phalanx CIWS     Cargo Capacity 180,000 barrels petroleum products, 600 tons ammunition      Propulsion two boilers, one steam turbine, single shaft, 24,000shp

USS Merrimack (AO-179) was the third ship of the Cimarron-class of fleet oilers of the United States Navy. Total cost for the ship was
 $107.1 million. She was last homeported at Norfolk, Virginia (USA). Between 1989 and 1991 Merrimack was "jumboized", meaning that, after cutting the ship into two sections after about a third from the bow, a 35.7 m long section was added to increase the fuel load.
USS Merrimack (AO-179)  will be recycled by Southern Recycling in Amelia, LA.

River Map Key is below.   See: CHANNEL PHOTOS    or   SOUTHERN RECYCLE Page

VIEW:  Tug To Norfolk Page    or    PREPARATION PHOTOS      or     DEPARTURE PAGE     or     Amelia Page

James River Images


On Monday, May 20, TUG ELSBETH III was moored to the ship for rigging and survey. They will depart on Tuesday May 21, 2013 for Amelia, LA.

Click image for photos taken of fleet from tug on May 20, 2013

Tug Elsbeth III towing M/VMerrimack
All is good with crew and machinery. Nice dinner with Capt Latham at Joe's Crab Shack. Surveyor Bill Tye due at 0800.
Plan is  starting up at 0300 Tuesday May 21 and departing shortly after that.   Reported by Capt Mike R.

All is well with tug, tow and crew. Pilot Ray Robbins  did an outstanding job directing the assist tugs through the two tight turns and the James River.   It was a pleasure to work with such professionals. We have not started fishing yet, but will soon. Reported by Capt Mike R.

Tug, tow and crew all good, fishing lines out. Reported by Capt Mike R

Tug, tow and crew all good, fishing lines out. Reported by Capt Mike R

Crew doing routine maintenance, tow is good, all is well aboard.
                                                                             Reported by Capt Mike R

It is a beautiful morning, beautiful sky in the East. Current speed and sea conditions perfect, the ship is staying directly behind us for now. Forecast for next few days looks pretty good for us with Easterly wind at 10 kts today, 10 - 15 kts Monday and 15 - 20 kts Tuesday. 
Reported by Capt Mike R

Lots of wildlife yesterday,
dolphin ( mammals), and dolphin (fish), turtles and jumping kingfish. Patrick grilled a small dolphin (fish) for dinner. All is well with tug, tow and crew. Reported by Capt Mike R

The depth of the water is forcing us to stay farther offshore than we would like to and putting us in the foul current. As we get closer to Palm Beach, the water gets much deeper inshore and we will hopefully be able to stay out of the stream more. All is well with tug, tow and crew, we have seen turtles and birds today, not much else. Talked to two passing tugs at 2130 last night, nice to know others are out there. Hope your Memorial Day was special and safe. Reported by Capt Mike R

The wind has shifted slightly South of East and the wind and seas have picked up with numerous squalls. In another 12 miles or so, we will be able to come to 200*, which will put the wind and seas on beam again and hopefully lessen their negative impact on our speed. Yesterday off Palm Beach had fun with dolphins, young ones and adults playing in bow wake of tug. Reported by Capt Mike R

All is well with tug, tow and crew Things have settled down nicely this morning, there were very strong squalls and thunderstorms throughout the night. We had to remove the tow wire from the norman pins and slow down some. Currently, even though our total MTG is less than the stated number, we are not going fast enough to make out ETA. Also, the ETA is to the sea buoy and it will take probably 15-20 hours to struggle through the mud and arrive at the dock. We hope that when we get further along in the Gulf of Mexico, we will catch the loop current right and pick up speed. We will keep you posted if it becomes necessary to change the ETA. by Capt Mike R

Our weather forecast is looking outstanding for next 2 - 3 days. Looking for best currents and picking up speed.  All is well with tug, crew and tow. by Capt Mike R

All is well aboard with tug and tow.  Fishing lines out. by Capt Mike R

Patrick caught a second dolphin yesterday  by Capt Mike R

If it helps with schedule, we can arrive earlier and in time to catch the 0434 high tide on the 5th. The Pilot knows more than I do, but would like to complete the last half of the voyage and docking in daylight , if possible. Lots of dolphin swimming by the bow not much else out here, we do have a seagull hanging out on the forward bit. by Capt Mike R

All is well with tug, tow and crew. No fish, seeing our first oil rigs. An Egret found its way into the engine room and had to be  corralled and escorted outside by Patrick and Ian. We are going to heave in some tow wire and begin adjusting speed to arrive about midnight at sea buoy. by Capt Mike R  It's good they missed the storm  that's at Florida Keys this day.

May 22, 2013......................................................................................................
0300    Depart berth at Waterside Marine
0510    James River Bridge
0600    Enroute to Navy Reserve Fleet on James River near Ft Eustis
0700    Arrived at the Navy Fleet, starboard side to Merrimack. Standing by for surveyor.  
Wind:    S  8 -10 kts ( river calm )

May 22, 2013  0600  National Maritime Day
POSITION:      36 ° 12 ' 0 N  X  075 ° 36 ' 2 W
SPEED: 4.4 kts    WIND: SSW 10kts   SEAS: SSW 2 ft Swell 4ft
MTG Amelia:   1624 nm  ETA June 05

May 23, 2013  0600
POSITION:      34 ° 55 ' 2 N  X  075 ° 37 ' 5 W
SPEED:  3.8 kts  WIND: SSW 15-18 kts   SEAS:  3-6 ft  ( Thunderstorms )
MTG Amelia:   1536 nm  ETA June 05

May 24, 2013  0600
POSITION:      33 ° 55 ' 0 N  X  076 ° 57 ' 5 W
SPEED:  4. 2 kts  WIND:  SW 10 -12 kts  SEAS:   3-4 ft  ( Thunderstorms )
MTG Amelia:   1444 nm  ETA June 05

May 25, 2013  0600  Straight East of CHARLESTON
POSITION:      32 ° 46 ' 6 N  X  078 ° 48 ' 6 W
SPEED:   5. 6 kts  WIND:  N 20 kts   SEAS:   N  4 - 6 ft 
MTG Amelia:   1327 nm  ETA June 05

May 26, 2013  0600
POSITION:      30 ° 59 ' 6 N  X  080 ° 23 ' 0 W
SPEED:   6. 6 kts   WIND:  SE 5 - 8 kts   SEAS:  SE  2 - 3 ft 
MTG Amelia:   1191 nm  ETA June 05

May 27, 2013  0600 "Memorial Day "
POSITION:      28 ° 43 ' 6 N  X  080 ° 19 ' 1 W   Off Cape Canaveral
SPEED:  5.1 kts  WIND:   SE 5 - 8 kts   SEAS:   SE  2 - 3 ft 
MTG Amelia:   1052 nm  ETA June 05

May 28, 2013  0600
POSITION:      27 ° 40 ' 6 N  X  080 ° 07 ' 3 W
SPEED:  4.6 kts   WIND: E 10 - 12 kts    SEAS:   E  3 - 4 ft 
MTG Amelia:   989 nm  ETA June 05

May 29, 2013  0600
POSITION:      25 ° 30 ' 2 N  X  080 ° 02 ' 6 W
SPEED: 3. 1 kts  WIND:  ESE 15 - 20 kts   SEAS:  ESE  4- 6 ft 
MTG Sea Buoy:   857 nm  ETA June 05

May 30, 2013  0600
POSITION:      24 ° 32 ' 3 N  X  081 ° 05 ' 3 W
SPEED:  3. 9 kts  WIND: ESE 10 - 15 kts   SEAS: ESE  3- 4 ft 
MTG  Amelia:       769 nm  ETA June 05

May 31, 2013  0600
POSITION:      24 ° 18 ' 2 N  X  083 ° 10 ' 3 W
SPEED:   6.1 kts  WIND:  ESE 5 kts   SEAS:   ESE  1 ft 
ETA  Sea Buoy June 05 1200

June 01, 2013  0600
POSITION:      25 ° 33 ' 9 N  X  084 ° 59 ' 9 W
SPEED: 5.8 kts   WIND:  ESE 8-10 kts   SEAS: ESE  2-3 ft 
ETA  Sea Buoy June 05 1200

June 02, 2013  0600
POSITION:      26 ° 25 ' 2 N  X  087 ° 19 ' 1 W
SPEED:  4.3 kts  WIND: ESE 8 -10 kts   SEAS: ESE  2 -3 ft 
ETA  Sea Buoy June 05 0800-1000

June 02, 2013  0600
POSITION:      27 ° 17 ' 2 N  X  089 ° 11 ' 1 W
SPEED:  4.8 kts  WIND: ESE 5-8 kts   SEAS:   ESE  2  ft 
ETA  Sea Buoy June 05 1st light

June 04, 2013  0600
POSITION:      28 ° 31 ' 3 N  X  090 ° 44 ' 5 W
SPEED: 4.1 kts   WIND: ENE 5 kts    SEAS:     ENE  1  ft 
ETA  Sea Buoy tonight 2200 / 2300

June 04, 2013  Arrival Sea Buoy; at Mouth of Atchafalaya River

2100    (Central time) shortened up tow wire near Sea Buoy. All assist boats on scene - Pilot, Donnie, Scott and Bob have arrived.
            We are standing by for the Crosby Knight to complete his outbound transit of the channel with a 400' X 100' barge and assist tug.

2145    Donie and Bob depart ship back to Amelia, it has gotten choppy and they are getting beat up.

June 05, 2013   Assist tug "Tenner C" made up on stern, "Miss Kelly E Joe" and "Miss Niz" are running on either side of the ship pushing on the bow when necssary. The Pilot and Scott H are on the ship. Inbound Eugene Island Channel at #'s 39 & 40, all is well.

0800    Almost to horseshoe, the ship aground very insignificantly 3 times in the real shallow spots but we are making steady progress. Estimate 6 hours to go.
Will report final times when all fast at berth, Capt Mike          SEE MAP ABOVE !

Thunder storms all around - approching Key West on May 30th at sun up, Courious boaters can be seen off Merrimacks port side.

See Destination site: - AMELIA, Louisana

View all Tow's that Vern has a record of, by "TUG NAME"!