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Release No: 015-95
January 13, 1995



The Navy will hold a christening ceremony for the fleet oiler, Rappahannock (T-AO 204) at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 14, 1995, at Avondale Industries, New Orleans, Louisiana. In the age old Navy tradition, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, wife of Senator Edward Kennedy, will break a bottle of champagne over the bow and formally name the ship. Senator Kennedy will be the ceremony's principal speaker. Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton will also speak.

Named for the eastern Virginia river, Rappahannock is the 17th of 18 Henry J. Kaiser Class ships authorized to be built by Congress. The ship's primary mission is to transport and deliver bulk petroleum products from shore depots to combatant and support ships underway, making those ships as independent as possible of overseas fuel sources. Rappahannock has a cargo capacity in excess of 154,225 barrels of fuel, is equipped with seven underway replenishment stations, and has a helicopter landing platform. Rappahannock and two other ships in this Class have double hulls to meet requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the first double-hulled oilers scheduled to be deployed by the Navy.

Rappahannock is 678 feet in length, has a beam of 98 feet, and displaces about 40,900 tons fully loaded. The ship will be operated by the Military Sealift Command with a complement of 82 civilian mariners (20 officers), and 23 naval (one officer) personnel.

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