MV Ocean Trader

  (Redirected from MV Cragside)

The MV Ocean Trader (ex-Cragside) is a Special Warfare Support vessel operated by the United States Military Sealift Command.[1]

MV Cragside in Mobile, AL on Oct 31 2015.jpg

The vessel has been proposed to serve as a special operations base for up to 200 troops, hangar bays for helicopters, gyms and weapons lockers.[2]


Between the years 2010 and 2011 the US Joint Special Operations Command had operated a leased vessel off the coast of Somalia. Commanded by an officer from the US Navy the vessel fell under the command of Task Force 484, the JSOC task force for the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Leased from the Edison Chouest Offshore firm, it reportedly had the capability to accommodate Navy SEALs, RHIBs and a helicopter. However, it allegedly focused mostly on collecting SIGINT equipment provided by, and manned with, operators from the Navy SEALs. It is likely that the ship was a stopgap measure before a permanent ship, the Ocean Trader, could be acquired. [3]

Cragside was launched by Odense Steel Shipyard in 2010, and completed in 2011 for Maersk Line.[4]

In November 2013, Maersk was awarded a $73 million contract to convert the ship.[5]

The US Navy's Request For Proposal called for a dual-screw ship capable of sustaining 20 knots speed with a range of 8000 miles, with 45 days endurance for a crew of 50 persons, augmented by a surge of up to 159 additional government personnel, and able to be refueled and re-provisioned underway for an additional 45 days' endurance for all 209 personnel. The vessel was to include capability to embark, hangar, launch and recover all rotary wing aircraft in the SOF inventory up to the size of the MH-53E, provide multiple refueling points for aircraft with a capacity for carrying 150,000 gallons of JP-5 fuel, carry and launch 4 boats of 12.3m length, two simultaneously within 20 minutes, and be able to carry, launch, and recover 8 jet skis and Zodiac inflatables. Modifications seen include a cavernous double hangar bay on the top deck forward of the bridge, and the conversion of the upper cargo deck immediately beneath the flight deck to handle the launch of boats. Unseen modifications were to include the addition of multiple dedicated maintenance and repair workshops for aircraft, UAVs, and small craft, dive lockers and service facilities for up to 60 NSWF personnel and their equipment, a 40 person SCIF, 20 person communications suite, berthing for at least 209 personnel, and emergency medical/surgical suite capable of accommodating at least 10 battle casualties. External FLIR monitoring and six 0.5inch machinegun pintle mounts for local security were also part of the upgrade. Numerous satellite antenna and communication masts are installed on the upper decks. All modifications included the requirement to operate in areas with ambient outside temperatures of 110° F and sea temps of 95° F. for extended periods in stationary location, indicating the Horn of Africa and waters contiguous to the Saudi Arabian peninsula would be the ship's primary area of deployment.[6]

The ship was in service as of 2017, and was reported to have operated in the Mediterranean and Baltic Seas.[7]

In January 2018, a photo of the ship was taken at the Al Duqm Port & Drydock in Oman.[8]

It was more recently photographed docked in Victoria in the Seychelles.[9]

Draft 18.4 ft (5.6 m)
Length 633 ft (193 m)
Beam 85.3 ft (26.0 m)
Displacement 20,650 long tons (20,980 t)
  • 50 civilian crew
  • 159[11] special forces
Speed 20 kn (37 km/h)


  1. ^ Burgess, Richard R. (November 18, 2013). "MSC to Charter Maersk Ship for 'Maritime Support'". Seapower. Arlington, VA. Archived from the original on 2014-02-23. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  2. ^ "The Navy's Getting a Big, Secretive Special Operations 'Mothership' - Converted cargo vessel to carry copters, commandos". War Is BORING. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  3. ^ Naylor, Sean (2016). Relentless Strike. 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.: St. Martin's Press. p. 415. ISBN 978-1-250-10547-9.CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ "DNV Exchange - CRAGSIDE - Summary". Det Norske Veritas. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  5. ^ Bender, Jeremy (4 February 2014). "The Navy Is Converting A Cargo Vessel Into A Special Operations Mothership". Business Insider, Inc. Archived from the original on 2014-07-20. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Mercogliano, Salvatore R. (12 October 2017). "The Ultimate Stealth Ship". CIMSEC. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  8. ^ Rogoway, Tyler. "Photo Of The Pentagon's Shadowy Special Operations Mothership Emerges". The Drive. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  9. ^ Rogoway, Tyler (June 2, 2018). "U.S. Special Operations Command's Elusive Mothership Is Packing Stealth Speedboats". The Drive.
  10. ^ "MV Cragside". Marine Traffic. Archived from the original on 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  11. ^