Atlantic Ocean - Military Sealift Command's dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) has commenced logistic support operations in the vicinity of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.

USNS William McLean was directed to move to the region to support federal, state and local authorities' ongoing relief efforts to alleviate the destruction caused by the storm as it moved through the Caribbean islands.

"Our main mission is ensuring the other U.S. Navy ships supporting the efforts are able to do their job," said Joshua Tamasovich, USNS William McLean's chief mate. "Once Hurricane Irma moved out of the region, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps moved assets in to provide relief efforts. USNS William McLean will be delivering fuel, stores and other associated supplies to the U.S. Navy ships taking part in the relief effort."

As of September 11, USNS William McLean pumped 620,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 40,000 gallons of jet fuel and delivered 40 pallets of supplies to U.S. Navy units providing relief support, according to Tamasovich.

"The support that the USNS William McLean is providing to the U.S. Navy relief effort, and the U.S. Marines attached to those ships is keeping those ships and personnel on scene so relief efforts can take place," added Tamasovich.

USNS William McLean is crewed by approximately 100 civil service mariners who provide all of the ship's services to include cargo handling, navigation and propulsion.

"The crew of McLean is going to be doing what we are really good at; we are ready to deliver food, cargo and fuel to supply the U.S. Navy ships who are going to be directly supporting the disaster relief efforts, as well as any regional crisis support, as required," said Tamasovich.

"The good thing about this ship is we bring a lot of support options with us," said Tamasovich. "This ship has a freeze and chill hold so we can make ice if required. We are capable of delivering humanitarian supplies if requested and do have the capability to berth personnel if needed."

Hurricane Irma hit Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with high wind and rain causing extensive flooding and damage across the region. Federal, State and local agencies are in the lead for this response effort.