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Public Tours of Navy Ship At Maine Lobster Festival

Posted: 7/10/12


The United States Navy’s USS San Antonio, led by Cmdr. Neil Koprowski, will visit Rockland for the 65th annual Maine Lobster Festival this year and will be open for public tours during the Festival.  The ship will arrive Wednesday, August 1st.

In 1996, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems began constructing the USS San Antonio.  The keel was laid down December 9, 2000, the ship was launched on July 12, 2003, and was then christened on July 19, 2003 by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.  The ship was designated as the flagship of Combined Task Force 151, a multinational, anti-piracy naval force off Somalia.  The USS San Antonio served as an afloat forward staging base for a 14-member U.S. Navy visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) team; an eight-member U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement detachment; a scout sniper platoon; and as the launchpad for many more missions.  The ship’s home port is in Norfolk, Virginia.

The San Antonio carries 699 people, and can hold up to 800 people.  Currently, 363 people sail aboard the ship (28 officers, 335 enlisted).  Most recently in March 2012, the San Antonio was awarded the Navy’s Battle Effectiveness Award, beating out four other amphibious ships and will have a large “E” painted on the superstructure.

Visitors will be able to tour the ship on the hour, and tickets will be passed out on the half hour between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Tickets for the first tour will be available at 9:30 am each day.  Please note that tour times are subject to change.  For the latest information, check the Information Booth or at the Main Entrance gate.

Ship tours are available free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis and will depart from the public dock at Harbor Park.  The line will run along the boardwalk by the Harbor Master’s office.  For safety reasons, all guests should wear shoes with straps around the ankle (no flip flops).  All guests are subject to search.

If you plan to tour the ship, please keep in mind that:
  • All children are required to be accompanied by an adult;
  • Wheelchairs and strollers will not be allowed onboard;
  • USS San Antonio is not equipped to handle handicapped visitors.  Visitors should be aware that there are no handicapped accessible points and that they will be climbing several flights of stairs throughout the tour. Due to the number of stairs required to tour the ship and limited medical capabilities, people with heart conditions, breathing difficulties or other medical conditions will not be permitted to board.
  • There will be a security screening prior to boarding the ferry for the ship. Visitors will be required to show a valid state or government photo identification.
  • Large bags, such as backpacks, will not be allowed onboard.
  • Baby bags and small purses will be allowed onboard. All bags will be subject to search.