US Navy names third towing, salvage, and rescue ship

The third unit in the US Navy’s new class of towing, salvage, and rescue ships will be named Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek in honor of the history, service and contributions of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, the US Navy secretary has announced.

The Saginaw Chippewa people are comprised of Saginaw, Black River, and Swan Creek bands. Ojibwe is also referred to as Chippewa and Anishinabek means “original people.”

“I am deeply honored to announce that the history of the Saginaw Chippewa people will once again be part of Navy and Marine Corps history,” said navy secretary Richard V. Spencer.

“The future USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek honors the original people of modern day Michigan, with their original name, and will carry the proud Ojibwe legacy for decades to come.”

This is the first ship to bear the name Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek, and the fifth US ship to be named in honor of the Saginaw Chippewa people.

Gulf Island Shipyards was awarded a $64.8 million contract option for the detail design and construction of the new Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship, which will be based on existing commercial towing offshore vessel designs and will replace the current T-ATF 166 and T-ARS 50 class ships in service with the US Military Sealift Command.

The first of the new class of ships will be named USNS Navajo and the second USNS Cherokee.

The contract includes options for potentially six additional vessels, and each additional ship will be named in honor of prominent Native Americans or Native American tribes.

The T-ATS will serve as open ocean towing vessels and will additionally support salvage operations and submarine rescue missions.

According to the US Navy, the first three ships will be built in Houma, Louisiana, and are expected to be completed between March and July 2021.

Photo: Photo: US Navy

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