The US Navy’s Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams (ESB-4) arrived in Port Victoria, Seychelles for a scheduled port visit on 29 October. 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 Captain 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 US ship to visit Seychelles in the last two 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 US ship visits” said Judes E DeBaere, Chargée d’Affaires, US 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 US Navy said the United States works closely with the Seychelles on maintaining peace and countering challenges to maritime security in the waters surrounding East Africa. In July 2021, the US Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Thom Kohl, and Seychelles Minister for Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka signed the first bilateral maritime agreement between the US and an East African country.
“The agreement on Countering Illicit Transnational Maritime Activity Operations enables the US and Seychelles to strengthen their shared maritime governance by better detecting, deterring, and suppressing illicit transnational maritime activities,” the US Navy said.
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.