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Cape Town – The first US warship permanently assigned to the US Africa Command area of ââresponsibility, the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB), has arrived in Cape Town for a scheduled port visit to promote security links.
The ESB class of ship can be used in a wide range of military operations. Acting as a mobile maritime base, they are part of the US critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to support assigned missions.
The U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance U.S. national interests as well as security and stability in Europe and Africa.
The visit will include opportunities for engagement with the South African government and military leaders, to include cultural presentations, ship tours, as well as religious and medical exchanges.
Commander Chad Graham said: âIt has been less than a year since Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams was in Cape Town working with our South African partners on issues of mutual and international concern, such as maritime security,
âOur frequent stops in South Africa illustrate our commitment to strategically engage with our counterparts here, but also our enthusiasm to continue to strengthen the already strong relationship between our two countries through cultural exchanges.
âSouth Africa is an important partner of the United States in promoting peace and security in Africa. South Africa and the United States both depend on shipping and free and secure shipping lanes for economic prosperity, âGraham said.
Acting U.S. Consul General in South Africa William Stevens said the ship’s visit is another indication of the deep and broad partnership between the United States and South Africa.
âThis is a partnership that creates shared prosperity, saves lives and creates security both here in South Africa and on the African continent.
âAt the United States Consulate General, we are delighted that Cape Town is once again welcoming the ship, as we firmly believe that working together to promote international security will lead to greater prosperity and security for our two nations. “
He said the United States shares a common interest with African partner countries in ensuring the safety, security and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent, as these waters are essential for the prosperity of Africa and the ‘access to world markets.
The ship had already traveled to Cape Town in February to refuel and promote maritime safety through a persistent presence in African waters.
Last year, the guided-missile destroyer, USS Carney, was forced to cancel a media tour as a precaution against Covid-19.
The visit was also part of the US Naval Force’s efforts to establish global maritime partnerships with African countries to improve maritime safety and security in the region.