Greek Diaspora In USA Wants To Block Transfer Of Warships To Turkey (Part III)
7 Jan 2013 2 Comments
As far as I understand the working of the US law making processes, the bill called “Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012” which was introduced to the US House of Representatives in December failed to be voted by the US Senate before the end of the year 2012 and before the end of the 112th Congress.
I do not know if it is possible to reintroduce a similar bill in the 113th Congress, but should that not happen then the deal of granting Turkey two Perry class frigates is off the table.
The HALC is patting its own shoulders for their success of stooping “the transfer” of these ships. I would like to remind that Turkey was offered Perry class frigates before without an Greek blockade and refused to take the ships.
As I have written before, if the bill would become a law, it would only authorize the US President to transfer vessels to foreign countries. This does not mean that the foreign countries would pick these ships. While these ships were granted for free there would be a hefty price tag attached to the ships to bring them to the level of the existing Gabya (Perry) class frigates in Turkish Navy.
Lastly, these transfers are job creators here at home. Each frigate transferred will require 40 to $80 million of repair and refurbishment. This represents economic benefit to the United States through labor and services during the transfer process, as well as the potential for millions more in follow-on services, equipment, and training. According to estimates from U.S. sources, each frigate transfer creates or sustains approximately 100 shipyard jobs and 50 services jobs in the U.S. for approximately 6 months. Performing this ship transfer work in domestic shipyards that perform U.S. Navy overhauls and repairs lowers the cost of U.S. Navy maintenance by spreading costs over a wider base. The end result is an overall lower cost to our U.S. Navy and thus for the American taxpayer.
The influential naval journalist Mr.Christopher P. Cavas has written an informative article about this subject with some very sharp observations.
Having failed to produce timely defense spending bills or avoid a chaotic end to a year-long march toward sequestration, the recently-deceased 112th Congress also failed to approve a normally prosaic measure allowing the transfers of old U.S. Navy ships to friendly navies.
Failure of the transfer bill means the Navy will now need to spend millions of dollars, U.S. ship repairers won’t get a hefty dose of foreign work, and allied countries won’t have the chance — at least for now — to avail themselves of surplus U.S. Navy warships.
At issue is the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012, a short, straightforward bill that lays out, by name and hull number, which ships the U.S. wants to transfer, what countries they would go to, and the terms of the transfer — loan, grant or sale. The measure long was a regular part of the annual defense authorization bills, but for the past few years has been submitted separately in order to give congressional foreign relations committees a chance to consider them.
This year’s proposal, to transfer 10 Oliver Hazard Perry-class to Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey, was sent to Capitol Hill on June 4 and referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. There it languished for nearly seven months until New Year’s Eve when — only because Congress was in session to debate the so-called fiscal cliff situation — it was brought to the floor of the House for debate and a vote.
In remarks Dec. 31 to introduce the bill, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairman of the committee, noted concerns about the deterioration in Turkish-Israeli relations. But she also commented on Turkey’s support for coalition anti-piracy and NATO operations.
Each frigate transferred, Ros-Lehtinen said, will require $40 million to $80 million in repairs and refurbishment, money spent almost entirely in the U.S. Each ship also, she added, has “the potential for millions more in follow-on services, equipment, and training.”
Without the transfers, Ros-Lehtinen said, the alternative “is to place the decommissioned ships into cold storage or have them be sunk. Navy funding is required for both the storage and the sinking option.”
The cost to inactivate each ship, according the Naval Sea Systems Command, is about $1.1 million, with annual maintenance costs of about $30,000.
Rendering the ships environmentally safe for recycling or sinking also would bring a hefty price tag.
If the bill “Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012” was really stalled by the Hellenic American Leadership Council, to prevent Turkey being granted ships Turkish Navy does not need or want, this action have cost American tax payers $411 million to $811 millions. I am not surprised at all. After all “Pyrrhic victory” is a Greek invention.