The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ’Woody’ Williams (ESB 4) steams ahead as sailors assigned to deck department conduct small boat operations on September 19, 2021. Picture: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Malachi Lakey/Released
The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ’Woody’ Williams (ESB 4) steams ahead as sailors assigned to deck department conduct small boat operations on September 19, 2021. Picture: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Malachi Lakey/Released

US military vessel in Cape Town to promote security ties

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Sep 27, 2021

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Cape Town - The first US warship permanently assigned to the US Africa Command area of responsibility, the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB), has arrived in Cape Town for a scheduled port visit to promote security ties.

The ESB ship class can be used across a broad range of military operations. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are part of the US critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to support missions assigned.

The US Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and inter-agency partners, in order to advance US national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.

The visit will include engagement opportunities with South African government and military leaders, to include cultural presentations, ship tours, as well as religious and medical exchanges.

Commanding officer Chad Graham said: “It has been less than a year since the Hershel ”Woody“ Williams was in Cape Town to work with our South African partners on issues of mutual and international interest, such as maritime security,

“Our frequent stops in South Africa illustrate our dedication to engaging with our counterparts here strategically, but also our excitement to continue building on our two nations’ already-strong relationship through cultural exchange.

“South Africa is an important partner of the US in promoting peace and security in Africa. Both South Africa and the US rely on maritime shipping and free and secure sea lanes for economic prosperity,” said Graham.

Acting US Consul-General to South Africa William Stevens said the vessel’s visit is yet another indication of the deep and broad partnership between the US and South Africa.

“This is a partnership that builds shared prosperity, saves lives, and creates security both here in South Africa and around the African continent.

“We at the US Consulate-General are delighted that Cape Town is again hosting 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 US shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent, because these waters are critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets.

The vessel previously visited Cape Town in February to resupply fuel and promote maritime security 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.

That visit was also part of the US Naval Force’s efforts to build global maritime partnerships with African nations in order to improve maritime safety and security in the region.

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