Military Sealift Command (MSC) vessels USNS Wheeler (T-AG 5001) and USNS Fast Tempo participated in an Offshore Petroleum Discharge System (OPDS) exercise off of Dogu Beach, Pohang, Republic of Korea (ROK) from Sept. 12-22.
The OPDS exercise is a MSC sponsored, semi-annual event that allows crewmembers to exercise the full capabilities of the OPDS system in a real-world environment. USNS Wheeler is a government-owned, contractor-operated vessel. Approximately 20 civilian mariners operate and navigate the ship, along with eight crew members who operate and deploy the OPDS.
“The OPDS system is designed to be fully operational in less than 48 hours from arrival; therefore, it is important for crew members to remain sharp on OPDS operations in the event of a contingency,” said John Mansfield, captain of USNS Wheeler. “The exercise also exposes military personnel in all branches of both U.S. and ROK forces to the unique capabilities of these vessels and the importance they play in defense and logistical support.”
During the OPDS Exercise, Wheeler was positioned approximately 9,000 feet from Dogu Beach using her sophisticated Dynamic Positioning System (DPS), which allows the ship to automatically approach and maintain positioning from a designated fixed point without anchoring. The OPDS flexible piping was then connected to the Beach Termination Unit (BTU), and 65,000 gallons of potable water was pumped through all eight miles of flexible pipe that was laid out on the ocean bottom.
Press Release, September 25, 2014; Image: msc.navy.mil