US Navy Makes First APS Port Visit to Namibia

Story Number: NNS120524-04Release Date: 5/24/2012 5:03:00 AM
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By Lt. Cmdr. Suzanna Brugler, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa/Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

WALVIS BAY, Namibia (NNS) -- High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) made a port visit to Walvis Bay in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS) 2012, May 22-23, the first APS visit and the first U.S. Navy vessel port-of-call here in over a decade.

The last time a U.S. Navy vessel visited Namibia was in 1999.

Highlights included Sailors and Marines participating in community service projects at the Walvis Bay District damara tern breeding ground and the Sunshine Centre Home for Disabled Children; an official reception on board Swift hosted by the U.S. ambassador to Namibia; and musical performances by members of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe Band at the Walvis Bay Mission to Seafarers and the Sunshine Centre.

Senior leadership office calls facilitating discussions on APS rounded-out the schedule of events for the busy two-day visit.

"Let me welcome the U.S. Navy on behalf of Walvis Bay. I appreciate you being here, and I would like for you to feel comfortable," said Rear Adm. Ndeshiningilwa Nghipandua, Namibian navy chief of naval operations, at an office call at the Walvis Bay Navy Base.

During the ambassadors reception hosted on board Swift, Capt. Susan Dunlap, director of Navy Africa Region, spoke about the importance of APS, underscoring a united global maritime community made up of partner nations as essential to the APS mission.

"APS aims to help African navies provide for their own maritime security. Besides the U.S., there are 11 European partners and 27 African partner nations that have participated in APS since its inception in 2007," said Dunlap.

"So what do partner nations get from participating in APS? Because todays maritime challenges are global, now more than ever, countering piracy, drug trafficking and terrorism at sea is in all our best interests," said Dunlap. "And so is helping African nations improve maritime security - here, in this vast, beautiful and diverse continent of Africa."

Ambassador Wanda Nesbitt, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Namibia, echoed the importance of international cooperation in her remarks.

"This ship visit is an opportunity for us to reflect on the important contributions that military-to-military cooperation can bring to our respective societies," said Nesbitt.

She continued by mentioning de-mining and HIV/AIDS prevention programs as efforts both the U.S. military and Namibian Defense Force have worked on together over the years.

The ambassador closed her remarks with a summary that reinforced Dunlaps message and also applies to the APS mission.

"Mankind has been sailing the seas for centuries. I hope that the sense of adventure that must have infused our early explorer sailors will always live on, because it is precisely that sense of adventure that enables us to bridge the cultural, economic, and even technological gaps we face today in search of peace and harmony across this great world of ours," Nesbitt said.

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.

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Sailors from High-Speed Vessel Swift 2 dig a hole for a new fence post during a community service project.
120522-N-JL721-031 WALVIS BAY, Namibia (May 22, 2012) Sailors from High-Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) 2 dig a hole for a new fence post during a community service project at the Walvis Bay District Damara Tern breeding ground. The new fence will help protect the endangered birds by preventing four-wheel-drive vehicles from entering and damaging the habitat. This is the U.S. Navy's first ever Namibian port visit in support of Africa Partnership Station. Africa Partnership Station is an international security cooperation initiative intended to strengthen global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Suzanna Brugler)
May 23, 2012
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