Jul 15, 2013 4:55 PM by Matt Terhune, firstname.lastname@example.org
CORPUS CHRISTI- There are 2 large identical ships in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.
The U.S.N.S. Benavidez you can see when crossing the harbor bridge beside Whataburger Field.
The U.S.N.S. Fisher is farther down the channel.
These are U.S. Navy ships that can carry more than 300-thousand square feet of cargo.
They also have the ability to quickly move U.S. military equipment like humvees to war zones around the world.
Many of those armored vehicles are made right here in Texas.
When they're not in use, they remain at the port.
Patricia Cardenas at Port of Corpus Christi says, "We're in a contract with both a third party contractor and the military, and this is where those vessels are docked when they're not needed to go to a special place or special assignment."
That third party contract is with maritime berthing of Corpus Christi which takes care of the ships here.
The ships have been here for about ten years. The current contract expires November 1st, 2016.
The Port of Corpus Christi hopes the ships and their crew remains here.
These ships normally have 29 crew members on board but because they are not currently in use, the ships are down to 12 crew members each.
The Port of Corpus Christi had to compete with other ports to get the ships here.
Patricia Cardenas says, "There are a lot of ports that are interested in this business too. So it's just a matter of where they need to station the vessels."