SSN in Chaguaramas: So What's in Chaguaramas?
When it comes to U.S. submarines, the public rarely sees stranger stuff than this. Yet, on the surface, explanations are quite insignificant. I refer to the photo and eyewitness reporting found here, recently. That certainly seems to be one of our subs in the photo in front of the crane.
On July 22nd, USS Albuquerque (or an SSN that looks like it) with a crew of 12 officers, 98 men and perhaps 17 riders docked in the northwest peninsula of Trinidad, known as the Chaguaramas. The announced purpose of the visit was a liberty call that included plans to paint the Rainbow Rescue Shelter at Belmont.
Originally comprised of Spanish, French and British cocoa, coffee and cotton estates worked by slaves, the peninsula’s harbor was leased to the US Navy in 1940 for a WWII naval base. The facility was officially returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 1963. Today, the area is prized by yachtsman’s, divers, fishermen , sunbathers and golfers. Sailing yachts moor at local marinas to avoid the Caribbean hurricane season.
As far back as 1969, the United States allegedly still had submarine visits to Chaguaramas. The base was used for missile tracking in our Eastern Test Range.
Reports to Congress (Section 2011 reports) are not required to mention JCET programs (training for special forces, including SEALS, related to counter-narcotic or anti-terrorism activities).
Special Forces Group 3/20 and Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard Special Naval Unit (30) conducted JCET exercises there in 2001. CDR Fraser, CO of USS Underwood (FFG-36) said during last year's visit, It was a great honor to command the first U.S. Navy warship to visit Trinidad in many years. Much could be going on besides the announced liberty call. Regardless of anything else, part of the mission is perhaps anti-terrorism related, and Ariel Weinmann was no longer among the crew.
Submarines are always silent and strange.