The Military Sealift Command’s dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Richard E. Byrd has become the first US Navy ship to visit Cam Ranh Bay for 38 years. During a week-long stay the 42,674-tonne Lewis and Clark class vessel underwent restorative maintenance at a local shipyard. The work involved underwater hull cleaning, propeller polishing, piping repair and overhaul of her salt-water cooling system.
It was the third contract to be given to a Vietnamese shipyard in recent years. Such contracts for the upkeep of Singapore-based MSC vessels are routinely awarded to commercial shipyards throughout the region in order to save time and money by reducing transit times and the periods the ships are off-mission.
Regarded as the finest sheltered deep-water haven in South East Asia, Cam Ranh Bay was once one of the largest in-country US military facilities used during the Vietnam War.