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 Post subject: 3000 sailors hit land for shore leave
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 12:57 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:13 pm
Posts: 1672
Location: South Australia
3000 sailors hit land for shore leave
January 24, 2006
ONE of the world's biggest warships has arrived in Australia, bringing thousands of US sailors to Brisbane.

Labelled a floating city, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan docked yesterday under tight security at the Port of Brisbane.

The 97,000-tonne, $5 billion vessel left San Diego on January 4 and is on its maiden deployment, with Brisbane being its first foreign port of call.

At 344m long, the flight deck covers 1.82ha, housing an air wing of 80 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

The vessel is powered by two nuclear reactors, which allow it to operate for more than 20 years without refuelling.

The downside to all the technological marvel is that it costs $3.34 million a day to run when under way, including wages.

The goodwill visit to Brisbane is the city's first chance to see an aircraft carrier. And with about half of the 6000 crew expected to get shore leave, it should also get cash registers ringing.

USS Ronald Reagan's commanding officer, Captain Terry Kraft, said Australia had "always been a favourite port for American sailors".

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