Friday, 16 March 2018

The Nuclear Era - changing of the tide

The sign things were to change.

USS Truxton and Longbeach arrive in Wellington and Auckland for port visits in 1976.  At this time there was little movement from factions opposed to Nuke ships.  When USS Pintado and USS Haddo arrived in 1978 and 1979 respectively the tide had changed. Protest fleets more especially for Haddo became very well organised and many still remember that protester who clambered up on the bow of the submarine.

In January 1978, Pintado arrived in Auckland with very little organised protest and berthed on the Training Jetty for the duration.  As with all Nuke Ships, monitoring for readioactivity was conducted, as well as provision of Liberty Boats.

When Haddo arrived a year later, despite the large-scale protest, she berthed too at Training Jetty..  Monowai was in port and provided two SMB's for Radioactivity monitoring on a 24/7 basis, as well as Liberty boat runs.  I was crew of Astrolabe and we were shown through the vessel - IMMENSE!!

Haddo (picture right) with full protest off Orakei Basin.  Both Survey ML's Takapu and Tarapunga (and I think Ngapona's ML) were tasked with keeping the protesters away from the submarine, largely to no avail.  We were carrying a Policeman who tasked us with grappeling any small boats that could be dragged on board - for their safety. As you no doubt understand, us sailors took to this task with relish.  Basically the Haddo was the beginning of the end to Nuclear vessels, from any country.

USS Truxton in Wellington 1976 -.Canterbury was tasked to be host ship and provided Liberty Boat Crews for the then anchored Truxton.  I was onboard for that period and felt great to see our friends in port, though we never berthed, so no dungy runs with our American comrades.

Click on the following link for audio

Truxton Soundclip Wellington

The infamous Phoenix, in Wellington (usually to be found on the mudflats in Little Shoal Bay, Northcote.)

Crew of Haddo checking the paint from protesters (as she made her way to DNB.)

Sadly the final ship visit in 1983, the Guided Missile Cruiser USS Texas, has very little historic coverage.  She did anchor in the stream and once again Monowai provided boats for monitoring and Liberty Boat runs. As it turned out, that was the last ship of any capability from the US and coincidentally the UK.  History is history and things stay the same or change.  Like the Springbok tour of 1981, the protests were a catalyst for a change of maturity of our fledgling country.

Three USS Texas  images on the internet related to the protests.

In Auckland

In Wellington

And Texas and Paea in Auckland.

Video of Longbeach arriving in Auckland.  Takapu stars. Click following text for video.

USS Longbeach

Auckland welcomes USS Longbeach with protests.

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