MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (NNS) -- Africa Partnership Station (APS), aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), arrived here, Jan. 31.
APS continues a multinational effort aimed at strengthening emerging partnerships in West and Central Africa in order to increase regional and maritime safety and security.
The visit by McHenry is the first by a U.S. Navy ship in more than 15 years. The primary reason for the port visit is to establish a dialogue between Equatorial Guinea and APS.
"I believe this visit will be a good experience for me," said Capt. Samuel Morales, of the Spanish Marine Corps. "I look forward to doing work that is not part of normal military operations and getting to know people from this part of the world."
APS includes Sailors from Africa, Europe and the United States who are working towards a common goal; partnership in maritime safety and security. APS brings an international team of expert trainers in a variety of military capacities.
"I am part of the crew of an Equatorial Guinea ship but this is my first experience on a large U.S. Navy ship," said Lt. Cmdr. Tiburciu Ngomo, of the Equatorial Guinea Navy. "I have learned a lot from my time onboard observing the many orders carried out by the crew."
Although the Navy has conducted training during routine deployments in West Africa, the focus of APS is new and different.
"I am very proud to arrive in Equatorial Guinea onboard Fort McHenry as part of APS," said Ngomo. "The presence of the ship in Equatorial Guinea is a new opportunity to increase our maritime security. I hope that Equatorial Guinea continues to be included in the normal program of APS."
APS is one in a series of activities designed to build maritime safety and security in Africa in a comprehensive and collaborative manner, focusing first on the Gulf of Guinea.
It responds to specific African requests for assistance, is aligned with broad international community and U.S. objectives, and is reflective of the mission of the U.S. Africa Command.
It seeks to take partnerships into action in a concerted interagency and multinational effort to promote maritime governance around Africa. APS is inspired by the belief that effective maritime safety and security will contribute to development, economic prosperity, and security ashore.
For more news from Africa Partnership Station and USS Fort McHenry visit, www.navy.mil/local/lsd43.