Colonna’s Shipyard Inc. is awarded a contract for a 121-calendar day shipyard availability for the regular overhaul and dry docking of the U.S. Navy’s only active cable layer/repair ship, USNS Zeus (T-ARC 7).
The firm-fixed-price contract, worth around $10.5 million, was awarded by the operator of the vessel, the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC), headquartered at the Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.
The overhaul work will include furnishing general services for the ship, inspect main propulsion motors, cable handling upgrades, heavy overboard system replacement, antenna mast modification, high precision acoustic positioning upgrade, docking and un-docking vessel, propeller shaft inspection, underwater hull cleaning and painting, freeboard cleaning and painting, and sea valve replacement. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by April 13, 2019.
The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to around $13.4 million.
USNS Zeus (T-ARC-7) was the first cable ship specifically built for the U.S. Navy, and was planned to be the first of two ships of her class, however the second ship was not built, leaving Zeus as the only ship of her class.
Zeus is equipped with a SIMRAD EM 121 sonar, and can also operate towed sidescan sonars and deploy data buoys to assist in oceanographic surveys. The vessel is fitted with an extensive suite of equipment for the handling and deploying of undersea cable, including five cable tanks, tension machines, and other devices. She is capable of laying 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of cable at depths of up to 9,000 feet (2,700 m).
The vessel can also be fitted with the Heavy Overboarding System (HOS), a 72,000-pound (33 t) A-frame capable of deploying remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
The primary missions of Zeus are to transport, deploy, retrieve and repair submarine cables and test underwater sound devices, with a secondary mission of conducting acoustic, hydrographic, and bathymetric surveys.
USNS Zeus is operated by the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC), part of the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) and the operator of the majority of the Navy’s replenishment, transport and auxiliary ships. Assigned to the MSC Atlantic Special Mission Support Force, she is operated by a majority civilian crew, and is assigned no permanent homeport.