DOUALA, Cameroon (NNS) -- The European-led portion of Africa Partnership Station (APS) West engagement began here, March 1, with the Belgian Navy command and logistical support ship BNS Godetia (A 960) pulled into the Djeujo commercial port.
This deployment is led by the Belgium Navy with the support of the Netherlands and the United States and marks the second time that APS has been executed from a non-U.S. ship.
"By training the African partners in domains such as safety and security, we will strengthen their own capabilities to protect their coastal waters against illegal activities," said Belgium Navy Cmdr. Marino De Meester, APS lead planner and training officer for Godetia.
Godetia brings with her a team of maritime experts who are ready to provide African partners training in small boat operations, maritime interdiction, boarding, and medical treatment. Training will be conducted by Godetia sailors and embarked U.S. Coast Guardsmen.
"I think it is a very big privilege for me to be counted amongst these Congolese officers who have been selected to take part in this APS program," said Congo Navy Lt. j.g. Joel Gackosso, one of ten Congolese Sailors that have embarked aboard Godetia in Douala. "Congo is on track to take charge of many sub-regional agreements and that means we need the assets like patrol boats and marine craft. But we cannot manage these assets without training and instruction. That is why APS provides a very good opportunity for us to train our Sailors."
During this deployment, Godetia will visit Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal. During these visits, the ship will embark African students in order to conduct professional exchanges in many areas including seamanship, damage control, maritime law enforcement, medical readiness and navigation. The vessel also carries, at the request of several non-governmental organizations, a large quantity of relief goods for the African coastal countries to include clothing, computers, textbooks, school materials, sun boilers and solar panels.
APS is a multinational initiative developed by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa which aims to work cooperatively with international partners to enhance maritime safety and security on the African continent.
Godetia is homeported in Zeebrugge, Belgium and is on a scheduled deployment.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe -U.S. Naval Forces Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.