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By Benhur C. Saladores

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (July 10, 2000 – Saipan Tribune)---Two U.S. Navy ships and one Canadian ship docked yesterday at the Saipan port, bringing in nearly 1,000 sailors for rest and recreation on the islands.

The USS Oldendorf, USS Milius and Canada's HMCS Calgary are making their first visit to the Commonwealth, which came right after another navy ship, USS Cushing.

This also marks the first time that a Canadian ship has chosen the CNMI a port of call for rest and recreation of its officers and crew.

The availability of open house tours, however, have yet to be determined, according to the governor's public information office. The ships are scheduled to depart on Wednesday morning.

The destroyer USS Oldendorf, under the command of Commander Rob Taylor, carries 355 sailors.

Over 563 feet long, the Oldendorf displaces 9,200 tons and can travel over 30 knots. The destroyer's primary mission is to provide anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The USS Milius, also a destroyer, is under the command of Commander Thomas S. Rowden. With 308 sailors aboard, it is 466 feet long, displaces 8,300 tons and can also travel in excess of 30 knots.

The HMCS Calgary is a Canadian patrol frigate of Halifax class. Under Commander Tim Howard, the Calgary carries 237 sailors. The vessel is 134 meters (147 yards) long, displaces 4,750 tons and can travel over 28 knots.

Saipan has become a favorite R&R port for U.S. Navy fleet in the Pacific since the harbor completed a multi-million dollar modernization program in 1998, pumping additional revenues to the local coffers and providing business to local establishments.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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