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US vessel returns to Walvis Bay harbour

THE US navy vessel USS Hershel “Woody” Williams returned to Walvis Bay for the second time in two months.

The vessel docked on Friday and will stay until 26 November.

The vessel was last in Namibia in September when it was said to be conducting exchanges and participating in joint training operations with the Namibian navy.

Ministry of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs spokesperson colonel Petrus Shilumbu said the vessel has nothing to do with the Namibian military this time around.

“That ship is being hosted by Namport. They are in our water for us to ask them what activities they are performing,” said Shilumbu.

US embassy consular officer, Perry Stamp said the vessel returned for maintenance and service.

“It (Walvis Bay port) is now one of our regular service points for that ship,” he said.

Namport spokesperson Tana Pesat also said the vessel came for repairs expected to last two weeks.

She did not give further details on the repairs.

The vessel was granted diplomatic clearance while in Namibia for maintenance and service only.

The clearance letter issued by NDF chief Martin Pinehas said the ship’s stay will deepen the partnership between the US and Namibian navies.

He added that it is also to promote security and rule of law in the marine domain by conducting joint training activities.

“The diplomatic clearance has thus been granted for the ship to dock at the port of Walvis Bay. It is directed that the Namibian navy shall not take part in any exchange programmes as well as joint training activities,” said Pinehas.

He said all movements of the ship in the Namibian waters and offshore will be strictly monitored.

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