ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- A civilian ship made use of Naval Station Rota's Port Operations Department Oct. 11-17 to prepare for its upcoming qualification inspection.
SS PFC Eugene Obregon (T-AK 3006) is owned and operated by the Waterman Steamship Corp., which is on a long-term charter with the Military Sealift Command. Their mission, as part of Maritime Prepositioning Squadron 1, is to forward-stage Marine Corps equipment.
"Because of our uniqueness and also Rota's uniqueness as one of the few ports we can go pierside in, we can [utilize Naval Station Rota's port] and get outside industrial assistance (OIA) from the local economy," said Wilbur J. Dahn III, master of Obregon. "We get to come in here every three or four months with the different things we need to get fixed."
Dahn said as a civilian ship, Obregon is required to go through an American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) inspection every year to receive a U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection. This covers certain safety and regulatory issues, such as the safety of the ship's rafts.
"They have to be inflated, checked, repacked and put back together annually," Dahn said. "That's one of the things that they're going to do [here], and we're going to have fresh certification on it. Then, when the inspectors come on, I can show them my certificates."
Obregon will be in port during her future ABS inspection, which is mandatory to pass. The ship cannot sail without the qualification.
For this reason, the crew prepares by completing as much preliminary qualifying themselves as possible at Naval Station Rota, just as Navy Sailors would do before a ship qualification.
Dahn gave high marks to Naval Station Rota's Port Operations Department for their help, and not only for what they did during their stay. During a tropical storm Oct. 11, Obregon parted three lines and was nearly swept out to sea, according to Dahn.
"When the winds came up and we got blown off the dock, Port Control did a really good job with us," Dahn said. "They really came through and responded professionally, helping us stabilize the ship."
"They parted three lines," said Chief Boatswain's Mate (SW) James Searles, of the Port Operations Department. "We put out lines to the ship in 55- to 60-knot winds to keep them from breaking away from the pier."
For related news, visit the Naval Station Rota, Spain Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/rota/.