Keel Laid for Future USNS Cherokee Nation

 In GDI, Sea, Space

An artist ren­der­ing of the future USNS Cherokee Nation (T‑ATS 7). U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Paul L. Archer

HOUMA, La. — A keel-laying cer­e­mo­ny was held Feb. 12 for the future USNS Cherokee Nation (T‑ATS 7), the second ship of the Navy’s Navajo class of towing, sal­vage and rescue ves­sels. The cer­e­mo­ny was held near Gulf Island Shipyard at the Houma Terrebonne Civic Center. 

The cer­e­mo­ny for­mal­ly marks the start of a ship’s life and the join­ing of the ship’s mod­u­lar com­po­nents. The keel serves as the sym­bol­ic back­bone of the ship. 

In atten­dance to authen­ti­cate the keel was Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Chuck Hoskin Jr., and the ship’s spon­sor and deputy speak­er of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, Victoria Mitchell Vazquez. 

During the cer­e­mo­ny, the keel authen­ti­ca­tors etched their ini­tials into the keel plate and declared it to be “truly and fairly laid.” 

“We are hon­ored to have so many rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Cherokee Nation in atten­dance to cel­e­brate this early mile­stone,” said Mike Kosar, sup­port ships, boats and craft pro­gram man­ag­er, Program Executive Office Ships. “The ship is crit­i­cal to the oper­a­tions of our fleet and will soon sail with the pride and deter­mi­na­tion of the Cherokee people, which it is named to honor.” 

The Navajo-class will pro­vide ocean-going tug, sal­vage and rescue capa­bil­i­ties to sup­port fleet oper­a­tions. The cur­rent capa­bil­i­ties are pro­vid­ed by three T‑ATF 166 and two T‑ARS 50 class ships, sev­er­al of which will reach the end of their expect­ed ser­vice lives later this year. 

Navajo-class ships will be capa­ble of towing U.S. Navy ships and will have 6,000 square feet of deck space for embarked sys­tems. The plat­form will be 263 feet long, have a beam of 59 feet and can carry a load of nearly 2,000 tons. 

In addi­tion to the future USNS Cherokee Nation (T‑ATS 7), Gulf Island Shipyard is build­ing the future USNS Navajo (T‑ATS 6) and is under con­tract for the detail design and con­struc­tion of the future USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek (T‑ATS 8).

Source: Seapower

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