DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — The USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul has been activated for service in the U.S. Navy.
A weekend commissioning ceremony was held in Duluth for the Freedom class-littoral combat ship. It measures nearly 400 feet (121.9 meters) and can travel at speeds greater than 40 knots, the equivalent of about 46 mph.
According to officials, the ship is designed to have significant maneuverability and will utilize a state-of-the-art system that combines diesel and gas turbines with steerable water jet propulsion, KBJR-TV reported.
Gov. Tim Walz had a special message for the crew during the commissioning ceremony Saturday.
“To the crew, when you sail the world’s oceans to whatever nation calls you, in order to defend the freedoms that we enjoy, know that the pride and patriotism of all Minnesotans sails with you. May the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul protect you,” Walz said.
The ship has a flight deck that's about 1.5 times larger the most naval warships and can accommodate a crew of 140 service members.
On Monday, the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul heads to its home base at the naval station in Mayport, Florida to await orders.
The ship was built in Marinette, Wisconsin, using Iron Range iron ore. Its commissioning, originally planned for 2021, was delayed by a problem with its propulsion system.