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NEWS | Feb. 20, 2021

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams visits Cape Town to Strengthen Bilateral Ties

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Coffer

The US Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) arrived in Cape Town, South Africa on Feb. 20, 2021 for a planned port visit. The visit builds on U.S. maritime partnerships with African nations and improves maritime safety and security in the region. 

“USS Hershel “Woody” Williams’ manning and maintenance model maximizes our availability and ensures our persistent presence in African waters,” said Commanding Officer, Capt. Michael Concannon. “Important port cities, like Cape Town, are critical to global trade.  As coastal nations, both South Africa and the United States rely on maritime shipping and free and secure sea lanes for economic prosperity.” 

The USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is the second U.S. ship to stop in Cape Town in the last 12 months. The USS Carney had a port visit with public events in Seychelles just before coming to Cape Town in March of 2020.

“As we are for trade and investment, the United States is a strong security partner for South Africa,” said Acting U.S. Consul General in Cape Town, Will Stevens. “This visit by the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is one more step in bolstering our already strong security cooperation.”

The stop will also allow a restock for fuel and re-supply for the ship.  Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, there will be no public visits to the ship and the crew will not have the opportunity to visit this historic and renowned city. 

“We at the U.S. Consulate General are delighted that Cape Town is hosting the ship’s resupply stop, as we firmly believe that working together to promote international security will lead to greater prosperity and security for our two nations,” Stevens said.

The USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is currently conducting operations in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations, which covers approximately half of the Atlantic Ocean, from the Arctic Ocean to the coast of Antarctica, and nearly the entire continent of Africa.

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, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.