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NEWS | Oct. 29, 2021

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams Arrives in Seychelles

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa / U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4) arrived in Port Victoria, Seychelles for a scheduled port visit, Oct. 29, 2021.

The visit will include a restock for fuel and re-supply for the ship.

"Seychelles is an important partner in promoting regional maritime security,” said Capt. Chad Graham, commanding officer, USS Hershel "Woody" Williams, "and we are thankful for the opportunity to acquire mission-critical supplies in Port Victoria.”

The USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is the second U.S. ship to visit Seychelles in the last 2 years. The USS Carney (DDG 64) had a port visit in March of 2020, in support of Naval Forces Africa’s (NAVAF) effort to build global maritime partnerships with African nations.  

“Seychelles has long served as a port that hosts U.S. ship visits.” said Judes E. DeBaere, Chargée d'Affaires, U.S. Embassy to Mauritius and Seychelles. “I’m pleased to see this continue with the visit of the USS Hershel “Woody” Williams. The United States and Seychelles have a history of partnership and cooperation to promote maritime security.”

The U.S. works closely with Seychelles on maintaining peace and countering challenges to maritime security in the waters surrounding East Africa. In July 2021, the U.S. Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Thom Kohl, and Seychelles Minister for Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka signed the first bilateral maritime agreement between the U.S. and an East African country. The agreement on Countering Illicit Transnational Maritime Activity Operations enables the U.S. and Seychelles to strengthen their shared maritime governance by better detecting, deterring, and suppressing illicit transnational maritime activities.

Additionally, Seychelles hosted exercise Cutlass Express in July and August 2021, a multinational maritime exercise held in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. These types of exercises strengthen partnerships and allow countries to work more closely on shared transnational maritime challenges.

USS Hershel "Woody" Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. The U.S. 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 ESB ship class is a highly flexible platform that may be used across a broad range of military operations. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to support missions assigned.

For over 70 years, U.S. Sixth Fleet forces have forged strategic relationships with our allies and partners and solidified a foundation of shared values, experiences, and vision aimed at preserving security and stability.

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.