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NATO Islands - An Allied Response To Policing Sea Lanes?

So, the idea is basicly a floating Camp Mirage?
Thanks OGBD

Could I tackle it from another angle?  If she were loaded half full, so that the plimsoll line (do they still use that term) were only half way to the waterline, how much additional weight (above and beyond the mass of the ship itself and her crew) do you reckon she could carry?  Assuming that she were holed and took on water in a manner that she settled on an even keel how much water could she take on board before she foundered?

McG - Yep - on a miniaturized scale.  With the advantage that she is mobile (and can be moved towards and away from threats) and not subject to "national vetoes" on use.
Kirkhill: Rule of thumb, you would have a reserve that is greater by half the weight of cargo. Likely in the 22 to 25 thousand extra tonnes in this case.

But again, a whole slew of different set of problems arise at half load. Merchant ship stability is a complex matter, with very different solutions at varying loads and load distributions. If you punch a hole, there are no scenarios I know of where  a ship will settle on an even keel without serious human intervention. Usually, things start to happen where the water comes in and that determines the likely outcome. In WWII, the Japanese had some of their battleships sink on an even keel as a result of wonderful work by damage control parties using counter-flooding. They went down on a even keel ... but they went down! Remember that Titanic was unsinkable. 
Point very clearly taken OGBD.  I presume that would apply to all surface vessels?

As to merchant vessel stability - I have often wondered how that was managed on those container and car-carriers which combine massive "sail" area from all that slab-sided structure above the water line with the combination of travelling heavy from Asian and light from Europe.  I understand that most of the outbound container traffice from Rotterdam is empty while the inbound is full.

11000 empty TEUs outbound
11000 full TEUs inbound at 14 tons apiece equals an equivalent air draught but an additional 154,000 tons of mass displacing water.

And Emma's new big sisters, the Triple Es, have an 18000 TEU capacity in a 190,000 ton GT vessel.  (Their hull form looks like that of a scow as a result).

Interestingly those vessels are twin engine, twin screw vessels designed to cruise at the slower rate of 20 to 23 kts vice the 25 kts of the Emma.  That still makes them faster than HMS Ocean and comparable to the Rotterdam and the Absolon as well as the majority of the MPF fleet.

I also read an opinion that with big enough props and a few more engines their hull lengths could support a theoretical speed of some 44 kts.  (I'll try and dig that up).
Instead of a floating base what about a modular design that would be (hopefully?) cheaper and more flexible.  Similar in concept to the WWII Mulberry harbours.

You could have a couple of semi-submersible oil platform-like structures that can be moved to a region of interest.  One could be like a semi-permanent AOR...resupply point for vessels operating in the area, helicopter pad for aerial operations and boarding parties, tethered airship-borne radar for wide area surveilance, etc.

A second "module" could be a cross-docking facility where full container ships and laden RO/RO vessels can meet up with troop carrying ships and landing/assault ships to make their final move to the area of operations.  There would also be storage capability for goods to be stockpiled for future use.

A third "module" could consist of a landing platform.  Something like two flat-topped merchant vessels that can be semi-permanently moored in place and connected end-to-end creating a landing strip where transport aircraft can come in and drop-off/pick-up personnel and/or material.  Instead of being like "civilianized" aircraft carrier this would be basically be the equivalent of a rough landing strip that you can place in the water where you need it for a period of time.

Good option GR66 - and coming closer to the type of thing the Americans seem to be contemplating.  Maybe there is room for both models?  One as a Corps transit Point and the other as a Brigade Point....for example?
Kirkhill, I think I am close to giving up.

First, lets compare on comparable basis and you may see some light. Emma: 170000 GT, Triple EEE 190000: Difference 20000, but that is volume. Still: you can use to compare size: EEE are 15% bigger in volume. But  Emma is 157000 DWT while the EEE will be 165000 DWT: only 8000 tonnes, or 5% heavier. For that difference, the EEE's have 86000 BHp engines compared to 109000 BHp engine for Emma - So Emma is ton for ton 28% more powerful, for a gain of only 2 knots of speed. And that is a good rule of thumb: the faster you go through water, the more power you need (almost exponentially) to gain an extra knot of speed. Hull form or not, there are no engines (Remember Emma has the largest diesel engine in the world) that you could usefully design to get a EEE to speeds of 44 knots, unless it was a hydrofoil (and it ain't).

Also: we don't deal with mass of water but with weight of water, We are on earth and its all gravity affected. These are different physics concept and the difference does matter in questions of speed, force, stability, etc. of  a ship. Also, look at the difference between Emma and EEE's: there is an 8000 tonnes difference in DWT and a difference of roughly 2000 TEU container carrying capacity: This gives you an average weight of 4 tonnes per container, which is about right. While some containers may carry up to 14 tonnes, I would say 4 tonnes average weight is about right, with about 1 1/2 tonne of it being the container itself.  (Think about it this way: I could ship scrap metal in a container and it would be heavy, but more often than not, a container from Asia will carry a bunch of television sets. How much does a flat screen Tv in its box weigh for the volume it occupies? Not much.) So Emma may carry (16000 TEU at 4 t.) 64000 tonnes of cargo to Europe and come back with  mostly empties (16000 at 1 1/2 t.) weighing in at 24000 tonnes of cargo.

Finally, while your "sail area" will affect your permanent list in a cross wind , it has only a very minor effect on ship stability, merchant or otherwise, unless you are going through a hurricane. 
Kirkhill et al

I have followed this, if for no other reason than to learn something about matters maritime. I must admit that I wonder about the practicality of the whole thing. Where in the world do we think we would need one? How do we get this behemoth there in a timely manner and are there other solutions? I am not trying to be a wet blanket, but the solution seems overly complicated and technically difficult compared to any other number of potential ways of approaching the challenge of maintaining a multi-national force in out of area operations.

Or maybe I am just all wet again.
Good enough...

Having demonstrated to all and sundry that this vessel is indeed empty it shall cease making noise.  ;D

But perhaps I can let someone else address the problem to which I was alluding:

Stars and Stripes Aug 2009

Note the tonnage required for a Stryker Brigade - 15-20,000.

I agree with Old Sweat: Keep on looking at new solutions. These discussions are good for all and evolve as they go along: Here we started with an apparent shortage of aircraft carriers as the original problem, to end up with sea basing Over The Horizon of army operations support.

Cheers to all, and Kirkhill in particular for bringing this idea up.
The connection between the two concepts is found here

Several US operations in the past five years have had significant Seabasing
components. The largest was during Operation Enduring Freedom, when Special
Operations Forces (SOF) and Marine units embarked on USS Kitty Hawk and
accompanying expeditionary strike group ships underway in the Gulf of Oman executed
“the longest ship-to-objective maneuver in history, moving 400 miles inland to seize the
desert airstrip south of Kandahar.”26 However, some blemishes were seen in this
implementation of the Seabasing concept. First, the use of USS Kitty Hawk as a
Seabasing platform required the removal of almost her entire normal air wing
complement, rendering her ineffective as a strike or fleet defense platform. This
highlights the need to procure dedicated Seabasing ships, rather than employing a (very)
expensive CV/CVN to fill that role.

The same study supplies the rationale in its abstract (and comprehensively detailed internally)

A fully-developed Seabasing capability would be of substantial value to the Joint
Force commander, enhancing the Joint Force’s freedom of action and significantly
improving its agility in support of national military and strategic objectives. It would
reduce the time from decision to action by eliminating the need to build supplies ashore
before starting operations, enable the Joint Force to act without the political constraints of
friendly host nation access, and defer the time until the Joint Force commander must have
a large supply base ashore to continue operations. The two main challenges to the full
implementation of Seabasing are that the equipment required is expensive and that
several critical pieces of technology required do not yet exist. Because of this, an
incremental approach to developing and fielding Seabasing technologies is the most
fiscally and strategically responsible plan.

The study makes reference to the conversion of Emma's smaller S-Class sisters as cost effective expedient seabase components.  It also notes the lack of adequate air connectors in general and fixed wing connectors in particular.... hence my wandering into the C130/C27/Forrestal weeds.  Two C27s can be parked wingtip to wingtip across the deck of Emma.  That suggests to me that if the bridge were converted to an island there would be lots of room to land C27s.

The other connectors could be the JHSV (also referenced) and the MH47G(CH-147G).

The point of the exercise was to find politically acceptable means for NATO nations to contribute to international security operations in a cost effective manner so that (for good or ill - depending on point of view) the USN was not the sole policeman of the high seas and was not the only force capable of operating "from the Global Commons"  (great expression found in referenced study).

Cheers and thanks for the support and continued instruction.

Note for discussion: Details on the Emma Maersk and how she is loaded
I don't think it would work for NATO, there is too much infighting amongst the alliance now. I could see this working with the US, UK, Australia, Canada and maybe a couple of others but as a NATO initiative you maybe asking for too much.
Ex-Dragoon said:
I don't think it would work for NATO, there is too much infighting amongst the alliance now. I could see this working with the US, UK, Australia, Canada and maybe a couple of others but as a NATO initiative you maybe asking for too much.

Point taken.

But the EU exercise off Somalia offers some comfort - maybe we don't get all of NATO "onboard"  but perhaps we could get a quorum and some others to chip in a nickel.
I agree with Ex-D: I can't see this as a NATO thing, but a USCANAUSUK, sure.

However, that would require our masters in Ottawa to accept to spend a lot of dough on B.H.S., even if at merchant standards.
Well, that would be a start.

How about the Dutch and the Scandinavians?  They seem eager enough to be involved.
Germans? They are contributing their Berlins - as long as they don't get shot at and aren't seen to help.
Italians? Spanish?  They maintain an "independent" stance while still supporting "Western" policy - as long as it doesn't cost them too much.
French?.........never mind
As to the rest.... catch as catch can.
Another Useful Reference:  - perhaps the best one.


And as to partners - Ex D and OGBD may have a point wrt NATO

Perhaps Japan, Korea (South), Taiwan and Singapore might be better partners -  India?
Maritime Angolosphere powers:

US, India, Canada, Australia/New Zeland, the UK.
I think that technologies for improved sea basing will continue...they make sense but realistically it will be a US show as they are the only military currently with the size and capability to make use of such a concept.  I seriously doubt if they would have any interest in giving away control of such a key enabling system to even their closest allies and I equally don't think that any of their allies have the cash (or interest) in developing such a major system that would be used primarily by another nation.

The best course of action for Canada I think would be to coordinate as closely with the US as possible so that any systems that WE develop and field (JSS, LOG systems, etc) will be fully compatible with what the US deploys so that we can effectively contribute to future joint operations.