Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) Doing Coast Guard Work off West Africa

ADRIATIC SEA – (Feb. 19, 2022) The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) sails the Adriatic Sea, Feb. 19, 2022. Hershel “Woody” Williams is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national interests and security in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Fred Gray IV/Released)

The Navy League’s on-line magazine, “Seapower,” has a post, “USS Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams Completes Gulf of Guinea Maritime Security Patrol,” reporting on the activities of this newly arrived 6th Fleet asset, the “first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility.”

And what was this 784 foot (239 m) ship doing?

In March, the joint U.S. and African maritime team interdicted an illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing vessel operating in Sierra Leone’s economic exclusive zone.

In April, as part of the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership, the joint team, led by Cabo Verde, worked in coordination with the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics, INTERPOL and Cabo Verde’s national Maritime Operations Center to conduct a compliant boarding of a Brazilian-flagged fishing vessel, which led to the seizure of approximately 6,000 kilograms of suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $350 million.

The US Navy regularly hosts Coast Guard teams in the Caribbean or while operating off Central and South America. US Coast Guard cutters have operated with West African nations previously. Coast Guard teams embarked on US Navy ships have trained with West African nations, but this may be the first time US Coast Guard teams, operating from a US Navy ship, have participated in law enforcement operations on the behalf of a West African nation.

7 thoughts on “Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) Doing Coast Guard Work off West Africa

    • I have not seen a CONOPS for the ESB which is up to date, but my guess is with a blue and gold plus CIVMAR crews the ship will stay forward for a long time and perhaps move between COCOMs?

  1. Too bad the CG can’t get its own ESB to support the expanding patrol presence in the Pacific. Seems like a perfect fit for WPC support and small boat ops with partner nations.

    • The ESB is a more than half billion dollar POS design (ala camel designed by a committee). How many more cutters could the USCG get for that much funding?

      • @Lee, fact is the ESB is the Navy’s program of record, and while it may not be optimal, it can provide useful support for patrol vessels in the Eastern Pacific. I was really disappointed to find they don’t carry fuel for replenishment. A T-AKE might have been a better choice, but looks like a ESB is what we will be getting.

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