US destroyer in Durban today

Sep 25, 2007
Author: P&S

The US destroyer USS FORREST SHERMAN (DDG98) is expected in Durban harbour this morning for a short stayover. The guided missile destroyer, one of the latest in the US Navy, is currently on a cruise along the East African coast which has included calls at Djibouti, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam and Maputo.

From Durban the ship will head for Cape Town. (see PORTS & SHIPS news reports dated 17, 18 and 21 September). The ship’s commanding officer is Cmdr Dean Vesely and the vessel carries a crew of about 360.

Displacing some 9,200 tonnes fully loaded, the Arleigh Burke class of destroyer is a modern design with a length of 155m length which is seen as the mainstay of the US Navy surface fleet during the first part of this century. Thirty-four ships in the class have been built or are on order.

USS Forrest Sherman is part of a newly established task force dedicated to the African East and South Coast region which is known as the Southeast Africa Task Group 60.5 - the task force is under the command of Captain Nicholas Holman.

During her visit to Durban and Cape Town many of the sailors on board are expected to enjoy some shore leave, and in Durban the US Navy is hoping to arrange a public concert involving musicians from the ship. While in Durban the destroyer, which will berth at the passenger terminal, will not be open to the public.

The South African frigate SAS AMATOLA arrived in Durban last Friday (21 September) on an unannounced visit.

Meanwhile the navy has announced that a Soweto-born naval officer has become the second black person to take command of a South African Navy warship. He is Lieut Commander Musawenkosi ‘Kop’ Nkomonde who is the new officer commanding SAS UMKOMAAS, a mine counter-measure vessel based in Simon’s Town. He took over from Cmdr Richard Penn in a change of command parade on Friday.

Lt Cmdr Nkomonde has served as an officer on several mine counter-measure ships and has completed an international mine-warfare course in Plymouth in the UK as well as a UN military observer’s course.

The first black officer to take command of a South African Nay ship is Captain Bubele ‘Bravo’ Mhlana, the present officer commanding SAS ISANDLWANA, one of the new frigates. Capt Mhlana also served as O/C of one of the navy’s small ships ahead of his appointment to the frigate - see PORTS & SHIPS Naval Review for 26 February 2007



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