Assessing options for contingent contracting of merchant ships for naval and expeditionary operations
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Strategic sealift is a perpetual concern for every naval officer planning naval operations. Historical experience (such as WW II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Operation Corporate, Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the 2006 Lebanon evacuation of foreign nationals) help us understand the great importance of merchant shipping in naval operations. The types of merchant ships most useful for military operations, as well as the sealift organization and capabilities of Greece, the U.S.A., NATO, the European Union and the Athens Multinational Sealift Coordination Center (AMSCC) are reviewed in this thesis. It also analyzes the shipping industry, which is highly specialized. Accordingly, naval officers and government executives need to thoroughly understand its peculiarities, as well as its capabilities and limitations in military operations. This thesis discusses the structure of shipping markets, and analyzes the methods available for contingency contracting of merchant vessels (spot market, lease, options, and requisition) for naval and expeditionary warfare, particularly leasing and options. The advantages and disadvantages of the various methods of acquiring merchant shipping are presented in detail. Finally, we reach a number of conclusions and recommendations about merchant shipping in naval operations that are useful for all naval officers, especially those planning sealift support for naval operations.
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