Top officials from the U.S. Maritime Administration and the Transportation Command want to proceed with the proposed acquisition of used vessels to replace the country’s aging fleet of reserve merchant ships, USNI News reported Thursday. The proposal intends to address the increasing cost of the maintenance and repair of existing ships in the Ready Reserve Fleet. The average age of reserve fleet is 44 years old.
“There will be a knee in the curve where it no longer makes sense to spend more money trying to repair these older vessels,” Retired Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, administrator of MARAD, said during a meeting with House Armed Services subcommittees.
He added that as the ships age, the military would see more expensive maintenance and repair efforts. Other maritime officials said they hope to buy used vessels that are at least ten years younger than the current Ready Reserve Fleet.
Army Gen. Steve Lyons, commander of TRANSCOM, told lawmakers that the proposed replacement program seeks affordability and focus on speed of delivery.
“I want to accelerate the used [ship] buy,” he said. “We’ve got to put some actual dollars to that.”
Lyons said the Navy has started a business case analysis to determine how to modernize the reserve fleet.