Default Generic Ship Image
Year Built
Official Number
Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock
General Type
General Cargo
Specific Type
Break Bulk
Ship Length
487.00 feet
68.00 feet
Mast Height
Net Tons
Gross Tons
9489.00 tons
Cargo Capacity
Draft, Summer
31.00 tons
Draft, Lightweight
Displacement, Summer
18410.00 tons
Displacement, Lightweight
5873.00 tons
Immersion, Summer
Immersion, Lightweight

Historical Narrative

The break-bulk cargo ship Northern Light was originally built by Moore-McCormack Lines at the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Chester, Pennsylvania, as Mormaccove in 1961.

The vessel operated on all three of the company’s east coast-based services.  In March of 1977, the Mormaccove was turned over to the Maritime Administration and placed at its James River Reserve Fleet at Fort Eustis, Virginia. 

On May 27, 1977, its name was shortened to  Cove and it was placed in the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) on a ten-day activation status. 

On April 22, 1980, the Maritime Administration transferred the ship to the U.S. Navy where it was converted to a Navy supply ship for use as a maritime pre-positioning vessel stationed at Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean. 

Cove was renamed USNS Northern Light and designated T-AK 284. The ship’s use as a pre-positioning vessel was brief.  Northern Light was deactivated on April 26, 1984, and on October 22, it was returned to the RRF, this time in Suisun Bay, in Benicia, California. 

In 1990, Northern Light was among the 78 RRF ships activated to support Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM.  The vessel was ordered to activate on August 24, 1990, and placed under the operational control of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.  It continued in service until September 1991. 

After deactivation, Northern Light was returned to lay-up in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, as an RRF retention asset.  However, in 1994 the “No Lights” was downgraded from the RRF as part of a force restructuring.

The vessel was berthed in the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, in non-retention status.

Vessel Name History

1961 - 1977: Mormaccove
1977 - 1980: Cove
1980 - present: Northern Light

Vessel Name History





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Historical Documents

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Event Date Content
Ship Name Change
4/22/1980 Ship MORMACCOVE changes name to NORTHERN LIGHT
10/22/1984 Title transferred from US Navy to MARAD
Interim Movement
9/8/1997 ENRTE: Drydock & underwater inspection
Interim Movement
9/8/1997 At Alameda Point for underwater survey
Interim Movement
9/17/1997 ENRTE: Under tow to SBRF
Interim Movement
9/18/1997 Returned from Alameda
Interim Movement
3/23/1998 ENRTE: Alameda for ABS cargo inspection
Interim Movement
3/23/1998 At Alameda Point for ABS inspection
Interim Movement
7/1/1998 ENRTE: Under tow to SBRF w/ETA 07/01/98
Interim Movement
7/1/1998 Completed tow to SBRF
Interim Movement
10/30/2000 RRF maintenance
Interim Movement
10/30/2000 At Pier 2 in Alameda CA
Interim Movement
11/28/2000 Tow back to SBRF
Interim Movement
11/28/2000 Towed back from Alameda
Cleared NHPA Processing
12/1/2006 Vessel cleared NHPA processing this date (tacit approval).
3/4/2014 Vessel under scrap services contract with ESCO Marine, Inc.
12/17/2014 Vessel dismantlement complete in Brownsville, TX. Under scrap services contact with ESCO Marine, Inc.

Ship Imagery

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Status Cards


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Shipwreck Information

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