WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recognized Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships' Lewis and Clark class (T-AKE) program as a 2011 Department of the Navy Safety Excellence Award recipient in the field of acquisition during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., July 7.
Representatives from the Auxiliary Ships, Boats and Craft Program Office of PEO Ships were on hand to receive the award and now have the privilege of flying the secretary of the Navy's safety flag for the next year.
"Safety and risk management are intrinsic to effectively prepare for and complete our mission, whether at home or deployed in harm's way," said Mabus in his message. "Your safety accomplishments are proof-positive of your mission first, safety-always command culture and your commitment to each other, to safety excellence, to the nation, and to the advent of the Department of the Navy as a world class safety organization."
The T-AKE acquisition program has designed and constructed a new ship class with very few safety issues and a demonstrated history of marked improvements in safety over succeeding hulls. The T-AKE acquisition team, comprised of members from PEO Ships, Naval Sea Systems Command, Military Sealift Command, the T-AKE design team, and the shipbuilder, NASSCO, created a safety-focused culture resulting in the implementation of several unique and key processes that identified and eliminated or mitigated safety hazards.
These successes are documented by the very small number of part one safety cards written by the Board of Inspection and Survey during T-AKE acceptance/integrated trials and the significant decrease in the number of overall safety cards written against succeeding hulls due to the robust Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health (ESOH) Program instituted early on in the T-AKE acquisition program. The program resulted in a 71 percent reduction in safety cards over a time frame of four years.
"Safety is as just as important in building a ship as it is operating a ship," said Frank McCarthey, the program manager for the Auxiliary Ships, Boats and Craft Program Office. "On behalf of the entire program, it is an honor to receive this award."
As a combat logistics force ship, the T-AKE class ships will help the Navy maintain a worldwide forward presence by delivering ammunition, food, fuel, and other dry cargo to U.S. and allied ships at sea. The ships are designed to operate independently for extended periods at sea, and can carry and support two helicopters to conduct vertical replenishment. The class is providing effective fleet underway replenishment capability at a low life cycle cost compared to the auxiliary ships they are replacing.
Built to commercial standards, T-AKEs make use of industry best practices and can be cost-effectively maintained using commercial, off-the-shelf technology. T-AKEs have built-in environmental protections such as industry-leading "green" waste-management facilities that decrease pollutants by 90 percent.
For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.