US naval ship to visit Colombo: First in eight years

Colombo, April 25: The guided missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70), plans to visit Colombo on April 30, for a ten-hour refuelling stop. This is the first visit of an American naval ship to Sri Lanka in more than eight years, the US embassy said yesterday.

American Ambassador Ashley Wills said, "The visit of the USS Hopper is emblematic of the friendship between the people of the United States and the people of Sri Lanka. I am especially pleased that we are again seeing an American ship visit Colombo after such a long time."

Commissioned in 1997, the USS Hopper is one of the latest Arleigh Burkeclass Aegis guided missile destroyers. It has been assigned to the United States Pacific Fleet, based at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii, but will join the United States Central Command’s Fleet after departing Colombo and will patrol the western Indian Ocean as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The USS Hopper was named after Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer technology during World War II and one of the earliest female admirals in the United States Navy.

The USS Hopper is under the command of United States Navy Commander Ken Auten, who will pay his respects to senior Sri Lankan Navy officials during the ship’s brief stay in Colombo.