The Uss Hershell Woody Williams, a US Navy ship, is in Dakar. Guided tour in a ship specially built to accompany African countries in humanitarian aid, in case of natural disasters…
On the roof of the Uss Hershell Woody Williams (Esb4), there is a view of the entire Dakar Port Authority. A tarmac where helicopters and small planes land is located on the terrace. On this same space, there is an operating theatre with medical staff, a sports hall and a space reserved for the fire brigade, which can intervene at any time in the event of a fire on the ship. Yesterday, Senegalese journalists visited the ship, which was specially designed for the African continent, together with some of the crew members.
According to Lieutenant Van Hoven, the ship’s press officer, the Uss Hershell Woody Williams, with a length of 220 m and a width of 80 m, was inaugurated in 2020. It was named after Woody Williams, a World War II veteran.
According to « The Sun », the sponsor, now 98 years old, is still alive in the United States. The design of the ship began in 2014 and work started in 2016. Just after its inauguration, it left the United States in July 2020 to sail in African waters.
Inside the ship, it is like being in the harbour. Small canoes and carts are all parked. The basic crew of the ship consists of 110 people. For Lieutenant Van Hoven, this is the minimum number needed to operate this large ship. The ship’s commander, Michael Concannon, received Captain Ibrahima Sow, head of the navy’s operations division, inside the ship.
According to the commander, the Uss Hershel Woody Williams is specifically assigned to African states and will accompany them on humanitarian missions, in times of crisis, natural disasters or when they are under attack by pirates at sea. « We are there to support the partners, » says the commander.
Their stay in Dakar, he says, will be an opportunity to discuss with the authorities of the national navy, a work plan to ensure security at sea. « The two countries have worked closely for 60 years and this cooperation will continue, » promised Michael Concannon. Captain Ibrahima Sow, head of the Senegalese navy’s operations division, welcomed the presence of the Uss Hershell Woody Williams, the first American ship to be deployed to support Africa.
« Threats and risks at sea are transnational issues. In order to cope, it is important to cooperate with others, » says the captain. After a few days at the Autonomous Port of Dakar, the Uss Hershell Woody Williams continues its journey to other countries on the continent.