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NGO/Aid group wants to buy assault ship USS Nassau for fitting as relief ship


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The NGO Aid group Coalition of Hope (COH) wants to buy the USS Nassau and outfit her as a civilian relief ship, capable of carrying a medical facility, relief supplies and helicopters.

I'm a little wary of anyone (other than national governments) buying carrier-shaped vessels, since several years ago, a now-defunct company bought the ex-Soviet carrier Varyag rusting in a Ukraine port for fitting out as a casino in Macao. Now that ex-Soviet carrier is the flagship carrier Liaoning of the Chinese navy.


Coalition of Hope website

As the seagoing platform for the Coalition of Hope mission, we have chosen the recently decommissioned (as of 31 MAR 2011) USS NASSAU.  This former “Tarawa-class” amphibious assault ship is capable of transporting in excess of 3,000 personnel.  She has within her, a 300-bed hospital, four medical and three dental operating rooms

Her existing cargo areas are capable transporting 35+ helicopter aircraft, heavy construction equipment, industrial trucks, cranes and other humanitarian / disaster relief supplies, in addition to her extensive amphibious landing craft capability.

She has 1,400 compartments, nine elevators and two horizontal conveyors. She also has two boilers — the largest ever manufactured for the United States Navy that can generate a total of 400 tons of steam per hour and develop 140,000 horsepower or 104 megawatts (MW).  The USS Nassau's electrical power subsystem creates 14 MW to provide electrical power for the ship and can ballast 12,000 tons of seawater for trimming the ship to receive and discharge landing craft from the well deck.
A capital ship, the Nassau is essentially a full-service aircraft carrier, with capacity for 40 "heavy lift" helicopters (including ten simultaneously) and amphibious launching platform, employing a variety of surface craft including the Navy's newest 40+ knot LCAC, 135-foot Landing Craft Utility (LCU), and other amphibious vehicles. 

The ship’s hospital component is equivalent to among the world’s finest local hospitals; with 17 ICU beds, 4 operating rooms, 300 beds, a 1,000-unit blood bank, full dental facilities, and orthopedics, trauma, general surgery, and x-ray capabilities.

Nearly three football fields in length and 20 stories high, the ship is capable of embarking 3,000 Disaster / Humanitarian Relief personnel when deployed.  The ship's two-acre flight deck, 18,519 square-foot hangar deck, and 250-foot well deck enable embarked personnel to accomplish COH missions around the globe.
Two-marine boilers provide steam to the turbines which drive the twin screw ship, providing 70,000 total shaft horsepower.  The ship has a range of 10,000 miles at a speed of 20 knots.

The Nassau has an extensive mechanical system for vertical and horizontal movement of containerized and palletized supplies from deep cargo holds to amphibious craft or helicopters. A system of five centerline elevators, conveyor lines and a monorail system move cargo and supplies.

Two large elevators, one aft and one portside, move aircraft and equipment from the hangar deck to the flight deck. Wheeled vehicles, trucks, jeeps and tanks can be driven or pulled from any deck level storage position via inclined ramps to either awaiting craft in the well deck or helicopters on the flight deck.
Keel Laid: August 13, 1973

Launched: January 21, 1978

Christened: January 28, 1978

Commissioned: July 28, 1979

Decommissioned: March 31, 2011

Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding, West Bank, Pascagoula, Miss.

Propellers: two

Aircraft elevators: two

Length: 833,340 feet (254 meters)

Flight Deck Width: 132 feet (40.3 meters)

Beam: 106 feet (32.5 meters)

Draft: 26 feet (8 meters)

Displacement: approx. 39,300 tons full load

Speed: 24 knots (27.6 miles per hour)
Power Plant Two boilers, two geared steam turbines, two shafts, 70,000 total shaft horsepower
Length 778 feet (237.1 m) waterline / 820 feet (249.9 m) overall
Dead Weight: 13670 tons
Vessel Operating Cost (US Navy): Annual Average $75,000,000

Vessel Operating Cost (COH): Estimated Annual Average $20,000,000
It is not without past precedent.
USS Sanctuary was sold for $10.00 to a NGO in 1989.  It was a hospital ship however.

Owning your own Carrier isn't unheard of, HMS Vengeance had been for sale on ebay before going to the breaker yard in 2004.