The US Navy has for the first time provided training to Mozambique.
The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Robert G. Bradley last week called at Maputo where its ship`s company conducted small boat operations and maintenance tuition as well as visit, board, search and seizure training with Mozambican sailors and marines.
The training was part of US Africa Command`s (Africom) “Africa Partnership Station” (APS) that also saw
US Naval Forces Europe-Africa director of Policy, Resources and Strategy Rear Admiral William Loeffler visit Maputo.
“We have commenced the first APS visit on the east coast of Africa with the visit of the USS Robert G. Bradley,” said Loeffler. “Our efforts here are to help improve maritime safety and security in Mozambique (and East Africa).”
An Africom news report says the ship will next visit Tanzania, Kenya and Djibouti “as part of an initiative to improve maritime safety and security”.
The APS programme kicked off in October 2007 with the deployment of the Whidbey-class landing ship dock USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) to West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea.
“Africa Partnership Station is about sustained engagement, which is why USS Robert G. Bradley began its (APS) mission in West Africa in November, and is now the first US warship to tie up pier-side in Maputo and the first time APS has expanded beyond West and Central Africa,” said Loeffler.
“This is also the first visit of a US Naval admiral in recent history, which is an indication of how important we view our naval relationship with Mozambique.”
“The ship will also embark naval personnel from Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania to ride the ship as it transits along the East Coast,” the admiral added, saying they will have opportunity to participate in various training events and routine ship operations.
Loeffler further added that the Austin-class amphibious landing ship USS Nashville (LPD 13) is also part of the APS mission and is currently in port at Dakar, Senegal. The Nashville has aboard a large international staff and will visit Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana and Nigeria over the next four months in order to conduct similar training engagements.
The admiral also spoke about the US Navy’s maritime strategy and how a key aspect of that is global maritime partnerships. “International cooperative (maritime) security engagements are performed throughout the world, we have similar partnership initiatives in the Pacific, South America and the Black Sea.”
He explained that APS is currently led by the US Navy, in conjunction with international partners from Africa, Europe and South America. “We will only be able to achieve a safe and secure maritime environment by working to build partnerships now. Programs like APS help to build trust and cooperation among all participating nations as well as build positive relationships that will last for years to come.”
A separate report from Dakar shows the Nashville and the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries co-hosted a water survival workshop there last week “as part of an ongoing effort to advance the art and science of maritime operations in Africa”.
Senegalese marine biologists and maritime enforcement personnel practiced basic survival skill sets such as jumping from a ship, floating while stranded at sea, and mental and physical tips to help save energy and remain calm while waiting for assistance. “We think that if we can assist some of these developing countries with improved safety that it will benefit everyone,” said Teresa Turk, NOAA Fisheries biologist. “And doing that in partnership with the US Navy and other partners is a really good message to send to the citizens of Senegal and other West African nations.”
The water survival course is just one in a series of topics reviewed to achieve a safer maritime environment. NOAA Fisheries works closely with Senegalese fisheries as part of an ongoing management initiative to safeguard and track oceanic life. NOAA and their fisheries partners are also working jointly with marine mammal, sea turtle and shark identification as well.
“We are all trying to accomplish the same things, to collect better biological information, prevent illegal and unreported or unregulated fishing,” said Turk. We need to be engaged in this together because it’s a global issue, not just a national or regional issue.”