Event of the Week: CT Maritime Festival
September 7, 2017
The USS Cole, an Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, and Thunder Bay, one of the Coast Guard’s powerful fleet of ice breakers, will headline the 2017 Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival, Sept. 8-10, in downtown New London, Connecticut.
They will be joined by 2 other Coast Guard vessels, USCGC Albacore, an 87’ coastal patrol boat homeported in New London, and 65’ small harbor ice breaking tug Bollard out of New Haven and security patrol craft from Sub Base New London, plus others.
In what promises to be a spectacular first for the festival, the Coast Guard will stage a Search and Rescue (SAR) Demonstration on Thames River with a MH-60-T Jayhawk helicopter and small boat participation in full view from Waterfront Park. This is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9.
The announcement was made by festival chairman, John S. Johnson who said the military vessels will be joined by a number of schooners and other ships, plus the annual Great New London Chowder Challenge and dockside maritime educational displays, and an off-shore race among participating schooners, including the defending champion, Columbia, out of Panama City, Florida.
The Cole was severely damaged, with 17 of its crew killed and another 39 injured in a suicide bombing attack launched in Yemen by al-Qaeda, in October, 2000, nearly a year before the 9/11 attacks. The ship was returned to the United States and underwent extensive repairs before being returned to duty.
Once again this year, the Oliver Hazard Perry Rhode Island, a 200’ sail-training vessel homeported in Newport, Rhode Island, will attend and take students from New London, Groton and Ledyard on a 5-day sail training education adventure that will end in Newport.