The US Navy’s High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) has arrived in Maputo, Mozambique, for a seven-day port visit in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East 2012.
Swift arrived in Mozambique on Friday in its second port visit to the country, having last visited Maputo in February 2010.
During the visit Sailors and Marines embarked on board Swift, as well as Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agents from U.S. 6th Fleet, who will conduct training and facilitate information exchange in subjects to include leadership, port security, martial arts and riot control.
Swift Sailors and Marines will participate in community service projects at two local orphanages, co-host a blood drive with the U.S. Embassy, challenge members of the Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique (FADM) to a friendly soccer match, and help host a reception for local dignitaries and special guests.
Navy Detachment Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant Commander Charles Eaton said the mission focus for Swift’s visit is to build maritime capacity and strengthen partnerships in Mozambique.
“The main mission of this port visit is to build capacity for maritime domain awareness in Mozambique as part of Africa Partnership Station’s goals and objectives,” said Eaton. “And an important part of how we do that is through building upon relationships we have established with Mozambicans, strengthening our partnership through goodwill and information exchange.”
Swift on June 7 departed from Durban, South Africa, after concluding a two-week theatre security cooperation visit to the area. Durban was the third and final stop Swift made to South Africa in support of its mission, which began in Simon’s Town and continued to East London.
Over the course of three port visits several hundred people visited Swift for tours, giving the crew a chance to highlight the unique capabilities of the ship and civilian-military partnership. Sailors met with their counterparts in the South African Navy, conducted office calls and toured South African vessels, events that all built bonds that look to strengthen future visits, Swift Public Affairs said.
Swift will continue to visit ports in Africa in support of Africa Partnership Station, which is the US Naval Forces Africa’s (NAVAF) flagship maritime security cooperation programme. The focus of APS is to build maritime safety and security by increasing maritime awareness, response capabilities and infrastructure.
Through APS, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and NAVAF conduct engagement activities with international partners and governmental/non-governmental organisations. “2012 marks the fifth year that Africa Partnership Station has been working to improve maritime safety and security in Africa,” explained Lieutenant Nathan Potter of the US Naval Forces Africa Public Affairs Office.
“The first official APS deployment took place during 2007-2008 in West and Central Africa. US Navy vessels participating in APS 2012 so far includes the guided-missile frigate USS Simpson (FFG 56) and the high-speed vessel Swift (HSV 2),” Potter added.
To illustrate the increased importance of Africa to the US, the Swift between May 22 and 23 made a port visit to Walvis Bay in Namibia, the first US Navy vessel port-of-call to Namibia in over a decade. The last time a US Navy vessel visited Namibia was in 1999.
Swift, a U.S. Military Sealift Command-chartered high-speed vessel, is currently deployed off the coast of Africa in support of theatre security cooperation efforts.
Prior to visiting southern Africa, Swift visited Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo, Lome, Togo and Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.