US vessel docks for APS training programme
This year’s African Partnership Station (APS), an international initiative developed by the United States Naval Forces Africa, which works co-operatively with US and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa, has begun with the arrival of HSV Swift at Sekondi.
APS, as part of the United States Africa Command’s security co-operation programme, is a strategic programme designed to build the skills, expertise and professionalism of African militaries, coast guards and mariners.
The goal is to improve the ability of the nations involved to extend the rule of law within their territorial waters and exclusive economic zones and better combat illegal fishing, human smuggling, drug trafficking, oil theft and piracy.
For this visit, the vessel HSV Swift will be the primary venue for instructional courses for Ghanaian naval forces at the Home Port of the Western Naval Command.
The courses will include an expeditionary combat first aid and maintenance management, and small boat hull maintenance course which will be taught in conjunction with HSV Swift but will be held off ship.
The course is set to run for two weeks, concluding in August, 26, 2011, and is meant to strengthen maritime capabilities of Ghanaian naval forces in order to enhance maritime security.
On its way to the Western Command, the HSV Swift crew made a brief stop in Tema, during which the ship unloaded humanitarian items for Ghanaian non-governmental organization as part of the US Navy’s Project Handclasp programme.
The APS focuses on building co-operative partnerships with regional maritime services in order to achieve common international goals, primary stability and security.
It will be recalled that APS began in October, 2007 with the deployment of HSV Swift and USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) to West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea.
Countries visited included Senegal, Togo, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Liberia, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and the visits involved USS Fort McHenry and HSV Swift, with an international staff in Fort McHenry.