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SS Flickertail State (T-ACS-5)

SS Flickertail State (T-ACS-5)
United States
Name: CV Export Lightning (MA-206)
Owner: United States Maritime Administration
Operator: American Export Isbrandtsen Line
Ordered: 30 November 1965
Builder: Bath Iron Works
Laid down: 14 February 1967
Launched: 11 May 1968
In service: 21 February 1969 to 1986
Fate: Acquired by the United States Navy in 1986
United States
Name: SS Flickertail State (T-ACS-5)
Namesake: The state of North Dakota, which is also known as the Flickertail State.
In service: 9 February 1988 to the present
Homeport: Newport News, VA
Notes: Five days required to activate for service.
General characteristics
Class and type: Gopher State-class crane ship
Displacement: 31,500 long tons
Length: 668 ft 7 in
Beam: 76 ft 1 in
Draft: 33 ft 6 in
Propulsion: Single propeller
Speed: 17 knots
  • 9 civilian during Reduced Operating Status
  • 32 civilian during Full Operating Status

SS Flickertail State (T-ACS-5) is a crane ship in ready reserve for the United States Navy. She is stationed at Newport News, Virginia and is in ready reserve under the Military Sealift Command (MSC). The ship was named for the state of North Dakota, which is also known as the Flickertail State.


Flickertail State was laid down on 14 February 1967, as the container ship CV Lightning, ON 518063, IMO 6817845, a Maritime Administration type (C5-S-73b) hull under MARAD contract (MA 206). Built by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine, hull no. 355, she was launched on 11 May 1968, and delivered to MARAD 21 February 1969, entering service for American Export-Isbrandtsen Lines. She was sold to Farrell Lines in 1978 without name change. The ship was returned to MARAD in 1986 and laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF). In 1987-1988 she was converted to a type (C5-S-MA73c) Crane Ship by Norfolk Shipbuilding & Drydock, Norfolk, Virginia. Completed on 8 February 1988, she was placed in service as SS Flickertail State (T-ACS-5) and assigned to the Ready Reserve Force (RRF), under operation control of the Military Sealift Command (MSC).[1][2]

Flickertail State was assigned to Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadron Three and was maintained in a four-day readiness status. Flickertail State has been in ready reserve at Newport News, Virginia since 1993.

Large vessel interface lift on/lift off

In 2009, a demonstrator crane was installed and integrated aboard the SS Flickertail State to evaluate the crane's performance in transporting containers between two moving ships in an operational environment using commercial and oil industry at-sea mooring techniques,at sea in the Gulf of Mexico.[3] Developed by the Sea Warfare and Weapons Department in the Office of Naval Research along with Oceaneering International, the LVI Lo/Lo crane has sensors and cameras as well as motion-sensing algorithms that let it automatically shift with the rolling and pitching of the sea, making it much easier for operators to center the crane over cargo and transfer it.[4][5]

See also



  1. ^ Polmar 2005 p. 308
  2. ^ Silverstone 2011 p. 237
  3. ^ Anastasio, Rob (2010-06-02). "Revolutionary Crane Technology Is in Navy's Future". Archived from the original on 2011-01-30. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  4. ^ Hornyak, Tim (2010-06-03). "Wobble-proof Navy crane can offload cargo at sea | Crave - CNET". Retrieved 2011-09-21.
  5. ^ "Navy LVI Lo-Lo Crane Safely Transfers Cargo At Sea". HighTech EDGE. Archived from the original on 2012-03-25. Retrieved 2011-09-21.


  • Polmar, Norman (2005). The Naval Institute Guide to the Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Flee. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1591146852.
  • Silverstone, Paul (2011). The Navy of the Nuclear Age, 1947-2007. Routledge. ISBN 1135864667.


External links

Media related to Flickertail State (ship, 1965) at Wikimedia Commons