BILATERAL RELATIONSHIPS ... The captain of the USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams is impressed by the uniqueness of the Namibian port facility. Photos: Taati Niilenge/Contributed
AN American naval vessel, the USS Hershel 'Woody' Williams, arrived at the port of Walvis Bay on Thursday morning.
The vessel is visiting Walvis Bay for a series of joint naval exercises with the Namibian Defence Force. It is the first United State navy vessel permanently assigned to the US Africa Command area of responsibility.
During the three-day visit, the vessel and the Namibian Defence Force will conduct three joint exercises that include the first-ever Namibian Air Force helicopter landing aboard a US navy vessel, a 'visit, board search and seizure' exercise conducted by the Namibian navy aboard the ship and a joint US-Namibian navy 'passage exercise'.
Senior military officials and the government will also discuss future US-Namibian engagements.
This visit will showcase the important partnership between America and Namibia, as well as a shared commitment to ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation in Namibian and south Atlantic waters.
Captain Chad Graham thanked the Namibian government for allowing the vessel to visit Namibia.
“I want to honour the Namibian government for approving the request for the visit. The uniqueness of our visit is that we will strengthen an already strong bilateral relationship between our two nations and work with our brothers and sisters in the Namibian navy on topics of mutual interest. This port facility is phenomenal to receive such a large ship, and we were received very well,” he said.
The vessel can accommodate 100 uniformed crew members and 45 civilian crew members, while an additional 150 people who do humanitarian work can also be accommodated.