The following article by Christina Johnson, Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, was published in the February edition of Sealift, the official publication of Military Sealift Command. The M/V Ocean Jazz is operated for MSC by Crowley Liner Services and is manned in all licensed positions by American Maritime Officers.
Christmas came early to Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY), with the gift of Defiant (YT-804), a Valiant Class harbor tug December 9.
Military Sealift Command's chartered M/V Ocean Jazz, a heavy-lift vessel, spent nearly two hours lifting up and placing the harbor tug in the water near CFAY's Berth 6.
As the largest overseas U.S. Navy base, CFAY's port operations are essential to the success of the U.S. 7th Fleet's forward-deployed mission.
"CFAY is uniquely equipped to provide service to Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) with its Navy-owned and operated tugboats," said Capt. Rich Jarrett, CFAY's commanding officer.
"The arrival of YT-804 in Yokosuka strengthens both the capacity and capability that the port is able to execute in a mission that is fundamental to the projection of 7th Fleet power."
There are currently four Valiant Class Navy Yard Tugs (YT) in service at CFAY.
"This is the only tug fleet comprised of active duty sailors remaining in the fleet," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Anjian Deng, a CFAY port operations tug master. "Navy tug masters provide added flexibility and proficiency specific to the additional demands of the Yokosuka FDNF ships that would not normally be available at civilian or civil service operated ports."
During 2019, CFAY's port operations team executed more than 130 vessel movements, with over 100 of them conducted after normal working hours or on weekends/holidays to maximize support of forward operations.
"The increase of one additional tug allows port operations to move two 10,000-ton ships simultaneously organically without the need for contracted support 24-hours a day, seven days a week," said Cmdr. Antonio Matos, CFAY's port operations officer. "This will double the organic capability of the Port Operations Department and add tremendous flexibility to our husbanding operations here at Fleet Activities Yokosuka."