BNS Godetia departs Benin


Belgian Navy command and logistical support ship BNS Godetia (A 960) departed Cotonou, Benin, after five days of at sea and in port training with African students as part of the European-led Africa Partnership Station (APS) West initiative.

Godetia and its embarked Royal Netherlands Marines Corps officer, and US 6th Fleet and Coast Guard APS staff trained side-by-side with ten Benin and four Togo sailors on maritime interdiction, boarding, first aid, and small boat operations and maintenance.
“I really enjoyed the practical hands-on training, like small boat navigation during man overboard drills,” said Benin Navy Seaman Chimene Djimahloue. “During the small boat navigation training, the instructor shut off the engine and said that it was broken and that we had to fix it. Until this APS mission, I had never been taught how to repair an engine before.”

In addition to maritime safety and security training engagements, the APS team donated 16 tons of non-governmental relief goods to local hospitals and schools. They also held a reception for the visiting Belgium Army Chief of Defense, General Charles Henry Delcour and local senior African partner military members onboard.
“Working and training alongside African Partners improves our ability to operate together while providing opportunities to build important personal relationships,” said Belgian Commander Marino de Meester, chief of the combined international APS training staff onboard Godetia. “Building relationships helps us build trust, trust enables partnerships, and strong partnerships improve maritime security.”

Godetia is homeported in Zeebrugge, Belgium, and is the second non-US ship to execute the APS mission. APS, a US Navy original 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.

During this deployment, Godetia will visit Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Senegal.

Pic: Belgium BNS Godetia ship