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Australian warships in NY to mark alliance at sea

The United States and Australia are celebrating a friendship at sea that has lasted more than 100 years. On Sunday, two Australian warships arrived in New York to commemorate the relationship between the two nations - naval allies in every major conflict since World War I.

world Updated: Jul 20, 2009 11:14 IST

The United States and Australia are celebrating a friendship at sea that has lasted more than 100 years.

On Sunday, two Australian warships arrived in New York to commemorate the relationship between the two nations - naval allies in every major conflict since World War I.

The HMAS Sydney and HMAS Ballarat docked at Pier 88 on Manhattan’s West Side, where encounters of a very personal kind also were celebrated.

“We met on a tour of Europe last month, and we hit it off big time!” said American college student Masha Seltsman as she and a fellow student hugged four young members of the Royal Australian Navy. “We’re young and we love to party.”

The two young women from Philadelphia planned to take the four sailors on a tour of New York, including the World Trade Center terrorist attack site.

The seamen were among 400 men and women on board the warships that sailed into New York Harbour from Halifax, Nova Scotia, berthing on the Hudson River opposite the USS Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier.

The Australian frigates will be open to the public for tours on Tuesday before leaving Thursday for Baltimore and Norfolk, then Trinidad and Tobago, as part of a six-month, round-the-world deployment involving diplomatic visits and joint exercises with foreign navies.