A U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC) ship completed a short maintenance period at a shipyard in India, marking the first such job since the U.S. and India agreed to use Indian shipyards for the repair and maintenance of MSC ships in the Indo-Pacific Region.
The Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE 10) arrived at the Larsen & Toubro (L&T) shipyard in Kattupalli near Chennai on August 7. While there, the vessel underwent routine maintance that included repairs to safety and crew habitability systems and equipment.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed with India government officials in April to conduct ship maintenance in India as one of the ways to promote and enhance diplomatic relations between the two countries during the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
“This inaugural repair of a United States naval ship, the Charles Drew, conducted by the L&T Kattupalli shipyard, is a landmark development to be celebrated as a symbol of our strengthened U.S.-India partnership,” said Judith Ravin, U.S. Consul General in Chennai.
Charles Drew is one of several ships in the U.S. Navy’s MSC’s Combat Logistics Force (CLF), which is dedicated to supplying U.S. Navy ships with things like fuel, food, fleet ordnance, dry cargo, spare parts, mail, and other supplies while at sea.
“We appreciated the opportunity to complete this maintenance in India which will ensure we are ready for any tasking,” said Charles Drew’s Third Officer Anna Lewis, who serves as the ship’s navigator and operations officer.
The U.S. Navy in February also participated with the Indian Navy and others in Exercise Milan 2022 in Bay of Bengal, marking the first time the U.S. participated in the Indian Navy-hosted multilateral excercise.
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