MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- High Speed Vessel (HSV) 2 Swift - there is a reason the new HSVs were given that name, and they keep showing what they're made of. HSV 2 Swift lived up to its name recently when the ship completed the fastest ever transit of the northern Great Barrier Reef from Cairns to Booby Island, Australia.
"We were generally between 40 and 41 knots during the transit," said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Harris, Swift's executive officer. "We did set the new record."
The distance between the two points is 488 nautical miles and Swift covered the distance in 12.5 hours at an average speed slightly over 39 knots, taking into consideration the time it took to slow down to embark and disembark the navigational pilot.
"Although it is not official, during flight deck certifications, we were traveling at 43 knots during one recovery and had 66 knots apparent winds during another recovery, which is also a record for surface vessels," Harris said.
Swift and its crew started their journey in Hobart, Tasmania Aug. 14. They completed their crew certifications and were ready to deploy Aug. 24. After remaining in port in Tasmania for two extra days due to bad weather, Swift hit ports in Point Wilson, Sydney and Darwin Australia before heading into the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Swift has a simple but absolutely vital role in the 5th Fleet; move people and equipment where they need to go as fast as possible.
"5th Fleet has us in a logistics role right now," Harris said. "They want to use us to deliver things, people and parts very rapidly. We're also working with naval special warfare personnel to see where Swift may fit in if needed in the future."
Swift will remain in the 5th fleet theater and various other areas away from its homeport more than 90 percent of the time. To do that, Swift will swap crews in the same way the submarine community, and more recently some surface ships, have done.
"There are two primary visions for this ship," Harris said. "One is the Mine Warfare Command and Support Ship, and the other has a special warfare Marine expeditionary type role. That's where the two crews come in. The submarine community has proved that two crews has worked for many years, and we'll be putting it to the test here in the surface community."
Of Swift's two crews, the current crew is the first crew, and the other crew is just coming off the Joint Venture (HSV 1), which played a vital role during the first few months of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Joint Venture, Swift's sister ship, was adapted into a military vessel after serving as a commercial ferryboat in Australia. After a few modifications, such as adding a flight deck, the ship was ready for the Army, and later the Navy.
"Unlike Joint Venture, Swift from the beginning has been a Navy project," Harris said. "The spaces, equipment and everything else we needed were incorporated into the initial ship design. This ship is more adaptable, more capable and definitely more comfortable."
Swift is the fourth Incat-built high-speed wave piercing catamaran to enter military service following behind HMAS Jervis Bay, U.S. Army Vessel (USAV) Theater Support Vessel (TSV) 1X Spearhead and Joint Venture.
For related news, visit the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/ Commander, 5th Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cusnc.