SS Bellatrix (T-AKR-288)

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USNS Bellatrix (T-AKR-288).jpg
Career (United States of America)
Namesake: Bellatrix
Operator:  United States Navy
Builder: Rotterdamsche D.D.Mij N.V
Launched: 1 February 1973
Acquired: 13 October 1981
Honors and
Status: Ready Reserve
General characteristics
Class and type: Algol class vehicle cargo ship
Displacement: 55,355 tons (full)
Length: 946 ft 2 in (288 m)
Beam: 105 ft 6 in (32 m)
Draft: 36 ft 4 in (11 m)
Propulsion: 2 x Foster-Wheeler boilers, 875 psi (61.6kg/cm2)
2 x GE MST-19 steam turbines; 120,000 hp (89.5 MW)
Speed: 33 knots
Capacity: 700+ military vehicles (including trucks, tanks, and helicopters)
Complement: 43 civilians, 12 military technicians (fully operational), 18 civilians (reduced operating status)
Armament: None
Aviation facilities: Landing pad

SS Bellatrix (T-AKR 288) is an Algol class vehicle cargo ship that is currently maintained by the United States Maritime Administration as part of the Ready Reserve Force (RRF). She was built by Rotterdamsche D.D.Mij N.V. in Rotterdam, Netherlands, for Sea-Land Service, Inc. and named MV Sea-Land Trade.[1] Due to her high operating cost, was sold to the United States Navy in October 1981 as USNS Bellatrix (T-AK-288).[2]


Conversion began on 22 October 1982 at National Steel and Shipbuilding in San Diego, California. Her cargo hold was redesigned into a series of decks connected by ramps so vehicles can be driven into and out of the cargo hold for fast loading and unloading. She was also fitted with two sets of two cranes; one set located at midship capable of lifting 35 tons, and another set located aft capable of lifting 50 tons.[1] She was delivered to the Military Sealift Command in 1984 as USNS Bellatrix (T-AKR 288).[3]


When not active, Bellatrix is kept in reduced operating status due to her high operating cost. If needed, she can be activated and ready to sail in 96 hours.[4] Bellatrix took part in the Persian Gulf War in 1990. Along with the other seven Algol class cargo ships, she transported 14 percent of all cargo delivered between the United States and Saudi Arabia during and after the war.[5] In early 2003, Bellatrix was activated to take part in Operation Iraqi Freedom.[5]

On 1 October 2007, Bellatrix was transferred to the United States Maritime Administration. On 1 October 2008, she was transferred to the Ready Reserve Force, losing her USNS designation.[5][6] If activated, SS Bellatrix will report to the Military Sealift Command.[2]