The US Navy’s guided missile frigate USS Samuel B Roberts (FFG 58) (Sammy B) departed from Kenya’s port of Mombasa on Saturday after a five-day port call in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS).
Africa Partnership Station is a US Navy-led programme aimed at strengthening emerging partnerships in West and Central Africa to increase regional and maritime safety and security.
Sammy B played a vital role in the hub’s success, which saw the graduation of more than 85 students from seven African partner nations in courses such as search and rescue planning, small boat operations, small boat navigation, and meteorology and oceanography.
The ship’s commanding officer, Commander Angel Cruz, said the hub was an exciting undertaking for his ship and crew to be a part of.
“There are great things happening in East Africa,” said Cruz. “When I heard Sammy B was going to get to take part in the action, I had no doubt about how the crew would respond. These guys don’t see challenges, they see opportunities and they made the most of this one.”
The visit to Mombasa included visits from distinguished guests Major General Ngewa Mukala, Kenya Navy Commander, and Rear Admiral Michael T. Franken, commander of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, along with three community relations projects involving more than 30 sailors.
“Kenya is a beautiful country,” said Cruz. “We want to thank the Kenyan people for allowing us to visit and share their culture and hospitality.”
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania is the next stop for Roberts on their APS journey, but en route, embarked “Shipriders” will take part in a program allowing armed service members from East African partner nations to go underway with a U.S. ship and get some hands on experience that can’t be obtained through class work alone.
“We are going to get these guys up on the bridge doing the kind of work it takes to run a ship,” said Cruz. “When they leave Sammy B, they will have a far better understanding of the level they need to be able to perform at.”
Tanzanian Navy Captain A.M. Kihuma said living and working with the United States would allow partner nations to better understand the types of systems and operations they need to operate a deep ocean sailing or “blue-water” navy.
“Our U.S. partners are giving us this opportunity to come and learn how to take full control of our own areas,” said Kihupa. “We also get the added benefit of getting to understand each other’s cultures. The more fully we understand each other, the better we are able to work together and the more we are able to achieve.”
Sammy B. will continue her deployment in support of APS East with training stops in Tanzania, Mozambique, Seychelles and Mauritius.
APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.