So remember how Chief of Naval Operations Adm. jonathan Greenert announced in March that he was sending four Avenger-class minesweepers (technically they're called mine countermeasures ships) to the Persian Gulf, just to "be sure ... that we are ready" in case Iran tried anything weird aimed at cutting off a massive quantity of the world's oil shipments.
One question we didn't ask was; how will the 224-foot long minesweepers get there to the Gulf from their homeport of San Diego?
Like many I assumed they'd steam there. Nope, the Avengers (like that reference?) are being shipped there from the Port of Long Beach, Calif., aboard the massive ship, Tern; a semi-submersible transport vessel that is designed to haul mammoth pieces of oceangoing gear, like ships or parts of offshore oil rigs, around the world. The Tern, operated by a company called Dockwise, looks like a cross between a cargo freighter and a barge and, as you can see in the pic above, she's carrying the four minesweepers to the Gulf.
Ok, time for a random question; what's the coolest feature of the Avengers class ships? They're wooden hulled. Seriously, the ships have wooden hulls that are coated in fiberglass, this reduced the likelihood that they'll set off magnetic mines and gives them the ability to absorb the energy of a nearby explosion. Pretty damn cool.
Click through the jump for more pics.
Images via SurfaceWarriors Flickr.