Wave piercing USN Swift arrives in Durban on Monday

Nov 1, 2003
Author: P&S

One of the fastest deep-sea vessels in military use, the US Navy HSV Swift is due in Durban at 08.00 on Monday, 3 November. The multi-hulled ship will remain at Salisbury Island Naval Station for a visit lasting several days.

HSV Swift (the acronym stands for High Speed Vessel) is on her delivery voyage from the makers (Incat) in Australia, to her home base in the United States, which is understood to be shared between the US Naval Station Ingelside in Texas and the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia.

A detailed report on this unusual warship can be seen in this column (Naval Review/Ports & Ships) dated 30 September.

According to a joint press release issued this weekend by the South African Navy and the US Embassy in Pretoria, the purpose of the visit (other than more obvious and practical purposes like taking fuel after the long crossing from Australia) is “to enhance joint security co-operation between the US military and the SA National Defence Force.”

The planned joint exercises, which involve the USN Swift and ships and personnel from the navies of South Africa, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Morocco, will include a joint West African training cruise codenamed WATC 2003).

Operation WATC 2003 will also enable the respective navies to experience and experiment with “cutting edge equipment and concepts” such as the use of the High Speed Vessel, says the communiqué.

Swift is expected to sail from Durban on Wednesday (5 November) during which a new speed record between Durban and Cape Town of about 18 or 20 hours is anticipated. The distance is 824 nautical miles. During trials off Australia the HSV broke several existing records including the fastest transit down the Great Barrier Reef, where an average speed of just under 40 knots was obtained including slowing down to exchange pilots at both ends. The ship maintained 47 knots during trials.

Technical Data

Builder: Incat, Hobart, Australia
Class Society: Det Norte Veritas
Length overall: 97.22m
Beam overall: 26.6m
Draft: 3.3m
Speed: approx 38 knots at 700 tonnes deadweight – approximately 42 knots at 350 tonnes dwt (47 knots has been claimed)

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