APS conducts swift crew turnover

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Africa Partnership Station (APS) East platform High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV-2) conducted a regularly scheduled crew swap of their military detachment while in port in Port Victoria, Seychelles.

The crews, identified as “Gold” and “Blue,” are based out of Norfolk, Virginia, and conduct official turn-over with one another approximately every four months. This turnover will send the Gold crew back home to loved ones and provide the Blue crew with an opportunity to participate in the final stages of APS East 2010.

For the Gold crew, the turnover process has been a smooth transition. According to Chief Petty Officer James C. Yowell, command chief and senior enlisted advisor for the Gold crew, his sailors can go back home feeling satisfied with the hard work they have put in during their deployment.
“APS has provided a numerous amount of learning and growing experiences for the Gold crew,” said Yowell. “By working with members of the international APS staff, we were all given opportunities to build working relationships, which in-turn improved our ability to develop lasting partnerships with African nations.”

The turnover process culminated with a farewell ceremony prior to the crew’s departure, where Captain James E. Tranoris, APS commander, gave remarks and thanked the crew for their efforts in enhancing maritime safety and security, then recognized a few sailors with awards for their outstanding efforts.
“I really appreciate all of the hard work each one of you has put in during your time aboard,” said Tranoris. “You’ve all performed with a high level of professionalism and deserve a lot of credit for what you’ve accomplished here during this APS mission.”

APS East is an international cooperative initiative in support of Naval Forces Africa which aims to unite international partners to enhance maritime safety and security throughout the African continent.

APS East has been conducting missions along the east coast of Africa since 2008; however, APS East 2010 marks the first year that the mission includes an international staff of partnering nations. A small group of staff officers from Kenya, Mozambique, Mauritius, Tanzania, Brazil and the US, work together to plan and execute the APS East mission.

Swift and its 2010 APS East sister platform, the USS Nicholas (FFG 47), have visited ports in Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mauritius, and Seychelles. The ships bring teams of maritime experts from the US Navy and US Marine Corps to provide training and participate in exercises with their African counterparts. Combat lifesaving; damage control; law of war; visit, board, search and seizure; small boat operations/maintenance and physical security are just a few of the capabilities during in-port training.

In addition to the APS port visits, the Nicholas has conducted at-sea instruction with approximately 60 east African ship riders. The trainees spend their time not only learning basic watch-standing principles, leadership skills, damage control and engineering, but also building relationships with sailors from around the globe.

Swift and Nicholas are on regular scheduled deployments within the US 6th Fleet area of responsibility. APS East is being conducted in cooperation with Commander, US Naval Forces Africa and US Africa Command (AFRICOM).

Pic: Port Victoria in Seychelles

Source: www.africom.mil