“Ghana is a key player in the APS program and it is therefore only logical that we spend ample time in her coastal waters,” said Royal Dutch Navy Captain Ben Bekkering, commanding officer of Johan de Witt.
APS, originally a US Navy initiative, is an international effort aimed at improving maritime safety and security for the continent of Africa through training and other collaborative activities with African partner countries. It focuses on building cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in order to achieve common, international stability and security goals.
At the conclusion of the visit, APS will graduate its first set of maritime professionals this deployment with Ghana. Fifteen Ghanaian sailors embarked Johan de Witt October 9 in Dakar, Senegal, and received maritime safety and security training consisting of classroom interaction and hands-on, skill-building exercises. Topics covered included small boat maintenance, small boat operations, maritime law enforcement, computer software lessons, and advanced first aid training.
In addition to maritime safety and security training engagements, the crew of Johan de Witt will participate in a sporting event with the Ghana Navy soccer team and the Feyenoord Soccer Academy at the Tema stadium and donate several items to the people of Ghana. The donated items will include a fire truck, an ambulance, wheel chairs, computers and clothing provided by various organizations and groups in the Netherlands.
APS focuses on building cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in order to achieve common, international goals such as stability and security.
The APS Johan de Witt deployment began in September and will run through November. Port visits will include stops in Cape Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone.
Johan De Witt, a Royal Dutch Naval vessel, is the first European-led APS platform and is augmented by staff from Belgium, Portugal and the United States.