USS Nimitz Visit to Sri Lanka First for U.S. Aircraft Carrier Since 1985

COLOMBO, October 27 – The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is scheduled to arrive in Colombo, Sri Lanka for a planned port visit on October 28.  The Carrier Strike Group includes the USS Nimitz, the cruiser USS Princeton, and destroyers USS Howard, USS Shoup, USS Pinckney, and USS Kidd.  The ships are scheduled to depart Colombo on October 31, 2017.

Reflecting the growing relationship between the U.S. and Sri Lankan navies, this is the first time an aircraft carrier has visited Sri Lanka since 1985, and follows the recent completion of the inaugural bilateral Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) naval exercise.

“Building our maritime partnership in step with Sri Lanka’s own progress on reconciliation and human rights advances our shared national goals of fostering security and stability,” said U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Atul Keshap.  “I’m delighted that U.S. sailors will have the chance to visit Sri Lanka, meet with its wonderful people, and take part in public service activities at schools, hospitals, and rest homes that will improve the lives of Sri Lankans of all ages,” he added.

It is estimated that the carrier strike group will add approximately 1.54 billion rupees ($10 million USD) to the Sri Lankan economy as the ships purchase supplies and thousands of U.S. sailors come ashore and support local businesses.  During the visit, sailors will have opportunities to explore the local community and meet with their counterparts in the Sri Lankan Navy.  While in port, sailors will also work with local non-profit organizations to support community service events at a local hospital, an orphanage, and other sites.

“There is an excitement among the crew to experience everything Colombo has to offer,” said Rear Admiral Gregory Harris, commander, Carrier Strike Group 11. “There is a sense of adventure and anticipation for this visit since few in the crew have previously been to Sri Lanka.  Our visit will be a great opportunity to enhance our relationship with Sri Lanka through cultural exchanges and other exchanges, relationships that I suspect will last long after we depart.”

The USS Nimitz is more than 23 stories high from the keel to the top of the mast and is approximately 333 meters long.  It can accommodate more than 5,000 personnel, with its kitchens providing more than 18,000 meals each day.  It produces 1.5 million liters of fresh water daily and its two barber shops give 1,500 haircuts each week.  The USS Nimitz’s home port is in the state of Washington.