The US ship USS New Orleans will arrive in Sri Lanka on Sunday to increase bilateral ties with the Sri Lankan Navy and provide US support and training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
“The 21st century is in many ways the Indo-Pacific century and Sri Lanka is well-positioned to take advantage of its strategic location. The United States looks forward to working with the Sri Lanka Navy as a key force for maritime security and stability,” US Ambassador Atul Keshap said in a statement issued ahead of the arrival of the ship.
Approximately 200 sailors from the Sri Lanka Navy will participate in the two-day humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training, led by members of 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and experts from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“We look forward to exchanging best practices with our Sri Lankan partners,” said Major John Arnold, commander of the 13th MEU forces on the USS New Orleans. “Opportunities to exchange expertise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief help us understand how to best integrate with our regional partners during crisis response.”
Along with members of the US Embassy, the Sailors and Marines will also take time out of their shore leave to visit local health clinics and schools in Colombo and provide free health screenings. In addition, the ship will donate more than 600 books to a school library.
The USS New Orleans is operating in the US Pacific Command area of operations as part of a seven-month deployment to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Its crew and embarked Marines are also looking forward to experiencing Sri Lanka’s vibrant culture and engaging with its people during their visit.
This is the second US Navy ship to visit Sri Lanka in the past four months, following the visit of the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge in March.