JUNIPER is a 225 foot, Juniper-class seagoing buoy tender. There are 16 ships in the class and JUNIPER is the fifth ship produced. The keel of the ship was laid in 1998 by Marinette Shipbuilders in Wisconsin. The ship was commissioned in 1999 and sailed from the Great Lakes to Honolulu, Hawaii via the Panama Canal.
The ship is powered by two 3608 Caterpillar main diesel engines that are connected into a single reduction gear that turns a large 10 foot diameter controllable pitch propeller. The ship has dynamic positioning capability with the assistance of two tunnel thrusters located at the fore and aft extremities of the hull. WALNUT’s 20 ton crane is used to lift navigational buoys onto her forward working deck for servicing to maintain maritime mobility for commercial vessels.
WALNUT also has a dedicated dive team which can also be used to service federal aids to navigation, particularly in areas where the water depth is insufficient to maneuver the ship or in sensitive coral reef areas.
WALNUT uses its two small boats to conduct dive operations as well as law enforcement boardings in U.S. waters and the high seas. WALNUT is also capable of deploying a vessel-based Spilled Oil Recovery System (SORS) that can be used to help contain oil or other hazardous spills when required.
A brief synopsis and some operational highlights of WALNUT include: