Justice Sotomayor helps christen USNS Puerto Rico in Mobile, Ala.
By PAUL GATTIS | Alabama Media Group, Birmingham (TNS) | Published: November 11, 2018
MOBILE, Ala. (Tribune News Service) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor helped christen a U.S. Navy ship on Saturday in Mobile.
The USNS Puerto Rico, the Navy’s newest Expeditionary Fast Transport, was christened in a ceremony at the Austal USA shipyard, where the ship was built.
Sotomayor, in a time-honored Navy tradition, christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, resident commissioner of Puerto Rico, served as principal speaker.
“This ship honors the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the contributions Puerto Ricans have made to our nation and Navy and Marine Corps team,” Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a press release. “USNS Puerto Rico will provide our commanders high-speed sealift mobility and agility and I am thankful for this ship, her crew, and our industrial force teammates whose service makes this great ship possible."
The Puerto Rico was the 11th of 12 EPFs to be built by Austal in a $1.9 billion contract.
“Austal is excited to christen another amazing ship,” Austal USA President, Craig Perciavalle said in a press release. “Puerto Rico is one step closer to joining her sister ships in supporting important missions across the globe.
“Congratulations to the incredible Navy – Industry team for achieving this important milestone,” continued Perciavalle. “You should be proud of the important service you’re providing our country.”
The Navy said the USNS Puerto Rico, designated T-EPF 11, will be the first active ship in naval service to honor the island in the West Indies east of Hispaniola.
With an all-aluminum shallow-draft hull, the EPF is a commercial-based catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances, according to the Navy,. EPF class ships are designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. The ship is capable of operating in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams main battle tank (M1A2).
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