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Tourism

Thousands of US Navy officers arrive in Hong Kong for USS Ronald Reagan port of call

Giant supercarrier berths off Tsing Yi as missile destroyer USS Chafee docks in Kennedy Town

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 October, 2017, 9:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 October, 2017, 12:09pm

Thousands of US Navy officers were spotted on the streets of Hong Kong on Monday, taking advantage of a port of call by the American supercarrier USS Ronald Reagan and its supporting fleet.

The giant nuclear-powered vessel entered local waters on Monday morning, berthing off Tsing Yi. But its accompanying USS Chafee missile destroyer was able to dock at China Merchants Wharf in Kennedy Town, under the guidance of two pilot boats.

Security was tight, with armed guards patrolling the area and naval officers stationed at the wharf’s gate.

This marks the aircraft carrier’s fourth visit to Hong Kong. However, many sailors found they had lost their way when disembarking at the wharf on Monday.

“The sailors typically come ashore at Fenwick Pier in Wan Chai, which the US Navy rented many years ago as a logistics support base,” a US consulate official said. “But now the pier is closed because of construction.”

The consulate provided free bus services for sailors to shuttle between China Merchant Wharf and Fenwick Pier.

Several Chinese-American officers told the Post they had been looking forward to the visit, with some noting it was their first time in the city.

“I have so many plans, the first one is to eat food, like Hong Kong dim sum and local snacks,” Wu Ming, 32, a native of Taishan city in Guangdong province, said.

Elena Wang, a 25-year-old Chinese-descent officer, said that, except for one day on duty, sailors were permitted to go sightseeing.

“I want to visit some film sites that I’ve seen in Hong Kong movies,” she added.

Another officer said: “We plan to visit the usual spots: the Big Buddha, Victoria Peak, you name it.”

A pier employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed the docking site had been booked until Friday morning.

“There will be a number of logistics operations here relating to food, supplies and other goods,” the worker said.

Three septic tankers believed to be carrying away sewage from the USS Chafee were seen arriving at the pier at about noon Monday.

China urges caution on North Korea as US supercarrier makes Hong Kong stop

The Post learned that about 2,000 people were allowed to disembark the USS Ronald Reagan on Monday, with another 3,000 scheduled for Tuesday. The arrangement meant nearly the entire crew would have an opportunity to go ashore at some point during the visit.