City to welcome warships
PORT of Townsville will roll out the welcome mat for 14 navy ships arriving in the garrison city this month from across the world ahead of a major defence forces exercise.
The United States’ USNS Richard E. Byrd arrived in Townsville yesterday after a visit from its sister ship the USNS Charles Drew last week.
Port spokeswoman Sharon Hoops said the Richard E. Byrd was the first of 14 ships from the US, New Zealand and Australia to visit in July as part Exercise Talisman Saber 2017.
“There will be up to about four defence vessels at any one time, so it will be a very busy four weeks for us trying to move everyone around,” she said.
Ms Hoops said the defence visitors never left the city empty- handed with Port and Townsville Enterprise officials boarding each of the ships to deliver tourism information. “We always deliver flyers and some goodies like the Townsville 150 book and if the ship is here for its inaugural visit, they also get a plaque,” she said.
The pride of Australia’s navy, the HMAS Canberra, is scheduled to arrive later this week.
Meanwhile, Lavarack Barracks will today host an official parade for its Contingency Force Element. The event marks the start of 3rd Brigade’s role as the Australian Defence Force’s ready combat brigade.
Richard E. Byrd