LIBREVILLE, Gabon — Africa Partnership Station (APS) aboard Amphibious Dock Landing Ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) arrived here Jan. 7 as part of a seven-month deployment designed to support and strengthen regional maritime safety and security in West and Central Africa and includes Sailors from Africa, Europe and the United States. "In addition to their usual training, Gabonese Sailors will benefit from professional trainers in an international framework," said French Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bertrand Daniel, APS operation branch head. "The training will be very interesting and beneficial for the Gabonese Navy; it gives them a chance to work with different branches of military from different countries." The training is designed to ensure that maritime safety and security will contribute to economical development ashore. Some examples of training include maintenance, small boat handling, security and Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS).
"In this part of the Gulf of Guinea there are many crimes to include human and drug trafficking, with this training, it will increase our Gabonese Sailor's awareness and help to protect these waters," said Gabon Navy Lt. Cmdr. Marcel Mihindou.
"It is great to work with people from places like Germany and France," said Mihindou. "The knowledge we gain from APS will give us the confidence and professionalism for the future." Africa Partnership Station 2007 is a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-led initiative, executed by a multi-national staff aboard Fort McHenry and High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2). Commander Task Group 60.4 and training teams from various U.S. and European military commands, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations are embarked on board Fort McHenry to enhance cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in West and Central Africa and the Gulf of Guinea on a seven-month deployment.