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USS Theodore Roosevelt Transits Through Suez Canal

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS051006-10
Release Date: 10/6/2005 3:24:00 PM

By Journalist 1st Class Daniel A. Bristol, USS Theodore Roosevelt Public Affairs

ABOARD USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), currently on a routine, scheduled deployment, transited through the Suez Canal Sept. 27.

The canal extends from Port Said to Port Tawfiq and connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez and the Red Sea. The Canal stretches 167 kilometers across the Egyptian desert and has been widened twice.

In the early morning hours, TR set special sea and anchor detail and special navigation detail as the ship entered Port Said at the opening of the Suez Canal.

At an average speed of nine knots, TR, USS San Jacinto (CG 56), USS Kanawha (T-AO 196) and the Spanish ship Alvaro De Bazan (FF 101), a Spanish frigate, all part of the TR carrier strike group, began their transit through the canal. The four ships were the tail end of a 30-ship convoy transiting down the canal’s southbound sea lanes and then transiting a little more slowly through the Great Bitter Lake. Once past the lake, the four ships traveled through the Bay of Suez and into the Red Sea.

“It was an entire team effort that made this work,” said Cmdr. Dave Taylor, TR’s navigator. “This wasn’t just a team effort with the bridge team, but the entire ship. The chief engineer and the reactor officer both had people standing by to give us a faster response time on the engines and faster reaction time in case of any problems. Deck department was standing by during the transit through the Great Bitter Lake just in case we had to drop anchor for any reason. [In addition,] the masters-at-arms protect us from threats during these times of increased force protection measures.”

Construction began on the Suez Canal in 1859 and was completed in 1867. In 1869, the canal was officially inaugurated. Then in 1888, all the major European governmental powers declared the canal neutral and guaranteed free passage to all ship in times of peace and war.

Coalition maritime forces operate under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.

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