By SOF Editor on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 11:12am
DJIBOUTI, Djibouti – The Africa Partnership Station East mission kicked off Jan. 5 with the high speed vessel Swift (HSV 2) and USS Nicholas (FFG 47) pulling into port here.
"APS is about strengthening partnerships and enhancing long-standing relationships to improve partner-nations' maritime safety and security," said Capt. Jim Tranoris, commander, APS East. "Our visit to Djibouti, and the training that will be conducted between our maritime services is a continuation of that lasting relationship. With our partners in the region ...we will work to improve their maritime capabilities and capacity."
Swift and Nicholas will visit additional ports (listed in order of scheduled visits) in Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros. During these visits, Swift and Nicholas will also embark African ship riders in order to conduct professional exchanges on damage control, engineering, medical procedures, navigation and watch standing.
Both ships have brought teams of maritime experts from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps that will provide training and participate in exercises with their African counterparts. Combat lifesaving; damage control; law of war; visit, board, search and seizure; small boat operations/maintenance and physical security are some of the additional topics that will be covered.
While there have been other APS East missions before, this is the first involving two platforms and the first time an international staff is executing the mission. The international staff consists of members from Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania and the United States.
"The key to success of Africa Partnership Station is the men and women aboard these ships. Our U.S. naval forces, the civilian mariners and the African international staff who are embarked, carry forward the face of U.S. Africa Command," said Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris, deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa. "APS is about partnering. We work with our friends in developing solutions or improvements that will benefit the region as a whole. Together, we aim to bolster maritime safety and security throughout the region so that we may combat trafficking, energy/resource security and piracy ... and in turn, we can hope for improved peace and prosperity within the region."
Swift is also carrying 40 metric tons (80,000 pounds) of relief supplies from Project Handclasp that will be offloaded in Kenya and transported to those in need within Somalia.
Swift and Nicholas are on scheduled deployments within the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. APS East is being conducted in cooperation with Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa.