Welcome to the CavasShips Podcast with Christopher P. Cavas and Chris Servello…a weekly podcast looking at naval and maritime events and issues of the day – in the US, across the seas and around the world. This week…Not long ago, the future of shipbuilders Austal USA was somewhat in doubt. Yet the company has rapidly expanded into new programs and efforts that are redefining its reputation as just a builder of aluminum ships. We’ll hear from Austal USA’s VP of Business Development Larry Ryder on the progress of those efforts.
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This Week’s Naval Round Up:
As has been reported world-wide, the small submersible TITAN imploded with five people aboard June 18 while diving on the wreck of the TITANIC. A large and wide-ranging search and rescue effort was led by the US Coast Guard, which coordinated efforts by the Canadian Navy and Coast Guard, US Navy, French Navy, and multiple commercial vessels to search for the sub. The TITAN was discovered on June 22 in pieces just 1,600 feet from the bow of the TITANIC, with all aboard declared lost.
The US Coast Guard cutter STRATTON carried out a Taiwan Strait transit June 20. The passage came only 17 days after the US destroyer CHUNG-HOON and Canadian frigate MONTREAL made the transit, during which the Chinese destroyer SUZHOU aggressively sped up to cut across the CHUNG-HOON’s bow. It was the first time a US Coast Guard cutter made the transit since the BERTHOLF in March 2019.
The carrier USS RONALD REAGAN is set to visit Danang, Vietnam beginning June 25, the first US carrier visit to the country since the USS THEODORE ROOSVELT visited Danang in early March 2020 just ahead of the worldwide pandemic shutdown. REAGAN is expected to remain at Danang until June 30.
Somewhat related, India on June 19 announced it would transfer the missile corvette KIRPAN to Vietnam, part of a growing defense collaboration between India and Vietnam in the face of China’s aggressiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Italian multipurpose offshore patrol ship FRANCESCO MOROSINI arrived at Yokosuka, Japan June 22 for a week-long stay, the first visit of an Italian naval ship to Japan since 1996. The MOROSINI is on a five-month Indo-Pacific deployment that began in early March, part of a larger European navy effort to deepen ties with Pacific nations. Similarly, the French frigate LORRAINE arrived at Manila, Philippines June 23 for a six-day visit after exercising with US and Filipino warships.
In New Ship News, the destroyer USS CARL M LEVIN DDG 120 is to be commissioned June 24 at Baltimore, Maryland. The Arleigh Burke-class ship was delivered in January from General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and will be homeported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
And lastly, Bill Norberg, retired Chief Yeoman, US Navy, passed away June 17 at the age of 100. A lovely gentleman, he was a crewmember of famed carrier USS ENTERPRISE CV6 for the entirety of World War 2 in the Pacific. He made a point of attending ENTERPRISE and Midway events and was unfailingly kind and patient to the many people who wanted to meet him. I saw him just this past June 4 at the Surface Navy Association’s annual Battle of Midway dinner, where numerous people, including the Vice Chief of Naval Operations and yours truly, sought a photo with him. He was a true treasure and a real gentleman.