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Victorious (T-AGOS-19)


The second U.S. Navy ship named for the adjective of having achieved a victory; conquering; triumphant. The first Victorious, that retained the name she acquired at the time of her acquisition, was a steel-hulled, single-screw cargo vessel, served only briefly from 1918–1919.


(T-AGOS-19: displacement 3,384; length 235'; beam 94'; draft 25'; speed 10 knots; complement 34; armament none; class Victorious)

The secondVictorious (T-AGOS-19) was laid down on 12 April 1988 at Morgan City, La., by McDermott Shipyards; launched on 3 May 1990; sponsored by Mrs. Lucille de la Garza, wife of Representative Eligio de la Garza of Texas; and placed in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on 13 August 1991.

Victorious (AGOS-19) 1991-
This view of Victorious conveys her distinctive small-waterplane, twin-hull design. (Undated and unattributed U.S. Navy photograph, Victorious (T-AGOS-19), Ship Inventory, MSC)

Victorious -- an MSC-manned ocean surveillance ship -- employs surveillance towed-array sensor system equipment to gather underwater acoustical data. MSC operates the ship as part of its Special Mission Ships Program, using her to support the antisubmarine warfare mission of the commanders of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. In addition, Victorious carries electronic equipment to process and transmit that data via satellites to shore stations for evaluation. She is built on a small-waterplane, twin-hull design for greater stability at slow speeds in high latitudes under adverse weather conditions. She deploys primarily to the Western Pacific.

Chinese and U.S. ships dangerously confronted each other in 2009. On 8 March, five Chinese vessels surrounded MSC-manned ocean surveillance ship Impeccable (T-AGOS-23) as she steamed 80 nautical miles off Hainan Island. Despite the harassment, Impeccable eventually broke away from the Chinese and steamed from the area. On 1 May, two Chinese fishing vessels closed Victorious while she carried out routine operations in international waters in the Yellow Sea, 170 miles off the coast of China. One of the vessels closed to within 30 yards. “This was an incident where a couple of Chinese fishing vessels maneuvered close to the Victorious in what was an unsafe manner,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman explained.

Victorious took defensive measures as the vessels closed. Her mariners sounded the ship’s danger alarms and manned fire hoses. They sprayed water at the Chinese vessels, but did not hit them. Victorious requested assistance from a nearby Chinese government vessel, at which time the fishing boats came about from the area. Whitman did not speculate on the motive of the Chinese. “That requires you to get inside the heads of the mariners out there,” he said. “What is clear is that it is unsafe and dangerous behavior, and it needs to be addressed. We do not want the mariners of any of the vessels out there in jeopardy…They are clearly demonstrating unsafe seamanship,” he elaborated. “As we have in previous incidents, we'll be developing a way forward to deal with this diplomatically.”

“This,” he summarized, “was clearly well into international waters”.

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

2 November 2015

Published: Mon Nov 02 14:44:19 EST 2015