SA Navy: U.S. nuke ship is safe

2008-10-02 00:00

Cape Town — The South African Navy has given its assurances that the United States nuclear vessel the USS Theodore Roosevelt will pose little risk to the public and the environment when it docks in Cape Town.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Greyling van den Berg said yesterday that a safety plan is in place for the visit of the ship.

Environmentalists, politicians and anti-war lobbyists voiced strong objections when the National Nuclear Regulator gave permission for the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to drop anchor in Table Bay. The vessel is expected to arrive next week.

The 322-m ship weighs 90 000 tons, has 5 700 people — 3 200 naval personnel, 2 480 air wing personnel and 20 kitchen staffers — on board and can carry 90 aircraft. The carrier has taken part in several operations in Bosnia and was responsible for launching initial strikes against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.

The Anti-War Coalition has called for Satawu and the SA Defence Force union to block the vessel from docking.

“By playing host to the warship, the SA government is honouring weapons of mass destruction and it is giving legitimacy to the imperialist invasions of many countries …”

Environmental lobby group Earthlife Africa warned that the presence of the ship poses a “danger and threat to humanity’’.

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