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Austal USA christens LCS-32, the future USS Santa Barbara

Austal USA christens LCS-32 (Austal USA/Facebook)

It’s said to be bad luck if the bottle of champagne used at a ship’s christening doesn’t break when swung against the hull. It looks as if the sponsor of a newly christened Austal USA Littoral Combat Ship didn’t mean to take any chances.

Lolita Zinke, sponsor of LCS-32, the future USS Santa Barbara, did the honors with an explosive effort Saturday morning at the Mobile shipyard. “For the United States of America, I christen thee Santa Barbara,” she said. “May God bless this ship and all who sail in her.”

Austal USA christens LCS-32 (Austal USA/Facebook)

She then swung the ceremonial bottle into a welded-on fin designed to help break it. In the livestream video of the process it appears that she drenched herself in the process and caught Austal USA President with a bit of spray too. (The moment is a little over 41 minutes into the video, which can be found at the Austal USA page on Facebook.)

Zinke is the wife of Ryan Zinke, a former congressman and former secretary of the interior.

Christening is one of the major milestones on the process of building a new ship and bringing it into service. The Santa Barbara still has sea trials ahead of it, after which it will be delivered to the Navy and eventually commissioned, marking its formal entry into service. The Santa Barbara is the 16th of 19 Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships that Austal is building for the U.S. Navy. The last three will be the Augusta, the Kingsville and the Pierre.


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