COMET


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Year Built
1958
Official Number
986560
Shipyard
Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock
General Type
Dry Cargo
Specific Type
Roll On/Roll Off
MARAD Type
C3-ST-14a
Ship Length
499 feet
Beam
78 feet
Mast Height
147.5 feet
Net Tons
8920 tons
Gross Tons
13790 tons
Cargo Capacity
66275 square feet
Draft, Summer
27.4 tons
Draft, Lightweight
19 tons
Displacement, Summer
18286 tons
Displacement, Lightweight
8175 tons
Immersion, Summer
69 tons
Immersion, Lightweight
59 tons
Fate
Sold - Scrap

Historical Narrative



Affectionately known by the nickname “Mother of All Ro/Ros,” (Ro/Ro, or Roll-on-Roll, off describes how cargo is loaded and unloaded) the former USNS Comet is a vehicle landing ship originally built for the U.S.  Navy. The lone ship of its class, it is named for the luminous astronomical body, and was the fourth U.S. naval vessel to bear the name.  Comet was built at Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company of Chester, Pennsylvania and was delivered in January 1958. The Comet is considered to be the first purpose-built oceangoing “Roll On/Roll Off” vessel. The Comet operated as part of the common user fleet of the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS), later Military Sealift Command (MSC). It was a notable participant in the U.S. response to the Lebanon Crisis in 1958.

In October 1961 Defense Secretary Robert McNamara projected that construction of five Comet -class Ro/Ro ships would begin in fiscal year 1963.  Although the full program did not come to pass, Comet’s military capabilities eventually came to revolutionize defense sealift, with large squadrons of multi-purpose Ro/Ro vessels dominating the MSC fleet by the latter half of the 1990s. An enlarged sisterly vessel, the Sea Lift (later renamed Meteor) was delivered to MSTS in 1967.

Comet was among a number of MSC cargo vessels assigned to the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) in Fiscal Year 1984, with administrative control transferred to the Maritime Administration.  Full title transfer came in the early 1990s.  Comet was stationed in the San Francisco Bay area and participated in numerous RRF exercises, and in the major deployment for Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM.  Comet’s last service was for Operation IRAQI FREDOM in 2003. Upon its return from this service, the Comet was placed in a reduced operating status in Alameda, California.  It was downgraded from RRF status in 2006 and laid-up in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet. MARAD contracted with All Star Metals, LLC for disposal on May 26, 2016.

Visit the USNS Comet in this 360-degree photographic tour, featuring 43 panoramic images of locations throughout the vessel.

The National Park Service completed a HAER Survey for USNS Comet, which can be viewed in the Documents section.


Vessel Name History

COMET

Mission

No Mission for this vessel

Historical Documents
Name Download

Milestones


Event Date Content
Entry
3/15/1985 Entered Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, in Benicia, California. Remained U.S. Navy asset until 6/1/1985.
Acquisition
6/1/1985 US Navy transferred title to MARAD.
Interim Movement
1/9/1997 Conducting sea trial
Interim Movement
1/10/1997 Completed sea trial
Interim Movement
7/14/1997 ENRTE: New outport at Alameda Point
Interim Movement
7/14/1997 At new permanent homeport
Interim Movement
2/26/1998 Conducting sea trial
Interim Movement
2/27/1998 Completed sea trial
Interim Movement
10/7/1999 Conducting sea trial
Interim Movement
10/8/1999 Completed sea trial
Interim Movement
4/25/2000 ENRTE: SBRF
Interim Movement
4/25/2000 New homeport is SBRF
Interim Movement
10/4/2000 ENRTE for dock trial and USCG inspection
Interim Movement
10/4/2000 At Alameda Point
Interim Movement
11/29/2000 ENRTE: SBRF
Interim Movement
11/29/2000 Returned from Alameda
Interim Movement
10/26/2001 Tow to Alameda CA for RRF maintenance
Interim Movement
10/26/2001 At Alameda Point
Interim Movement
11/6/2001 Shift to nesting position along METEOR
Interim Movement
11/6/2001 Completed shift in nesting position
Interim Movement
1/30/2002 Shifting to Pier 1 from Pier 3
Interim Movement
1/30/2002 Completed shift to Pier 1
Interim Movement
2/25/2002 Shifting to Pier 2 followig C BOVER move
Interim Movement
2/25/2002 Completed shift from Pier 1 to Pier 2
Interim Movement
8/7/2002 ENRTE: San Fransciso CA for drydocking
Interim Movement
8/7/2002 At San Francisco Drydock for repairs
Interim Movement
9/8/2002 Conducting maintenance sea trial
Interim Movement
9/10/2002 Completed maintenance sea trial
Interim Movement
9/15/2002 Conducting sea trial
Interim Movement
9/15/2002 Completed sea trial
Interim Movement
10/31/2002 Shifting outboard CAPE GIBSON to inboard
Interim Movement
10/31/2002 Completed outboard to inboard shift
Interim Movement
1/7/2003 Under tow to SBRF
Interim Movement
1/7/2003 Returned from repairs at Alameda
Interim Movement
2/13/2003 ENRTE: San Francisco Pier 50
Interim Movement
2/13/2003
Interim Movement
2/23/2003 Conducting sea trial
Interim Movement
2/24/2003 Completed sea trial | MSC OPCON 02/24/03
Interim Movement
2/27/2003 OP ENDURING FREEDOM
Interim Movement
5/27/2003 Return f/ OP IRAQI FREEDOM|New Homeport
Interim Movement
6/11/2003 Shifting to take fuel from CAPE BOVER
Interim Movement
6/11/2003 Completed shift
Interim Movement
6/19/2003 Shifting outboard of the METEOR
Interim Movement
6/19/2003 Shift & fuel intake of CP BOVER complete
Interim Movement
12/10/2004 Turbo Activation 05-01 sea trial
Interim Movement
12/12/2004 Completed Turbo Activation 05-01 sea trial
Interim Movement
7/26/2006 Downgraded from the RRF to NDRF Retention in the Fleet
Interim Movement
7/26/2006 Downgraded from the RRF to NDRF Retention in the Fleet
Disposal
9/30/2014 Vessel cleared historic review.
Disposal
5/26/2016 Vessel fully dismantled for disposal.

Ship Imagery




Status Cards



Documents


Date Type Name Download
10/2/2013 Comet MOA with California State History Preservation Officer.pdf Default Generic Download Image
6/14/2012 Comet_HAER_Report.pdf Default Generic Download Image

Plans


Date Type Name Download
(No Date) COMET Profile.pdf Default Generic Download Image
(No Date) COMET Trim and Stability Book.pdf Default Generic Download Image
(No Date) COMET Capacity Plan.pdf Default Generic Download Image
(No Date) COMET Decks.pdf Default Generic Download Image

Shipwreck Information


No ship wreck information for this vessel