The SEABARGE (SEABEE) is arranged much differently from the LASH in that it has three decks on which the cargo barges or container flats are stowed. Barges are brought to each deck level by a stern elevator and are moved internally within the ship by the Transporter (conveyor) System. Two barges can be loaded or discharged in a cycle of about 40 minutes. SEABEE barge ships can carry up to 38 sea barges (97'6" long x 35' wide x 16'11" high). The elevator capacity is 2,000 LT. The SEABEE ship is the preferred ship to transport landing craft, utility, and lighter, amphibious resupply, cargo 60 ton. The military advantages of barge carriers include their suitability to carry either unit equipment, sustaining supplies, or ammunition; the ability to carry amphibious lighterage; and the capability to preload the barges before ship arrival and to discharge cargo from the barges at relatively austere port facilities, after the ship has sailed. Their military disadvantages include a complete dependence on a single, very complicated mechanical system for barge discharge; the barge’s dependence, once afloat, upon the availability of towage; and the overall unsuitability of the barges for towing outside harbors or other protected waters.
The Sea Barge (SEABEE) transportation systems operate similar to a containership. In these systems, cargo is stowed in unitized barges. The barges are then stowed aboard a barge carrier. One major difference between containerships and barge carriers is the amount of cargo that lighters or barges can handle. SEABEE barges have cubic capacities of 40,000 ft3 (30 160 m3). The SEABEE system has an elevator to load its barges.