USS Samuel B. Roberts Participates in Leadership Exchange at APS


USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Angel Cruz met with local senior officials Sept. 6 to mark the ship´s arrival and participate in a cultural leadership exchange.

The visit was conducted as part of the Mauritian training hub of Africa Partnership Station (APS) East.

Cruz met with Director General Shekur Suntah, Mauritius Ports Authority, to discuss APS and how it contributes to maritime security in the region. He opened the meeting by commending the professionalism of the Mauritian pilot who had assisted the ship in navigating into Port Louis a day earlier, stressing the cooperation between the pilot and the U.S. Sailors.

¨Your pilot was extremely professional and knowledgeable, a job well done to him,¨ said Cruz. ¨APS is so much more than just Samuel B. Roberts making port visits and providing classroom training in the east Africa region, from Djibouti to Mauritius. It´s a real cooperative exchange of information and skills, and we are learning so much from our east African partners.¨

The conversation soon shifted to maritime security and specifically to the piracy threat faced in the territorial waters and local economies throughout the region.

Emphasizing the emerging importance of east African regional security with respect to counter-piracy, Suntah said, ¨We stopped looking at each other as countries and instead are united in protecting our region. Here, a lot of economic industries are hit. All we can do is share information and together see how we can try and mitigate the threat.¨

Later that morning, Cruz also paid a visit to the Mauritian deputy commissioner of police at the Port Louis Line Barracks. Cruz thanked the commissioner for the warm welcome the ship received from the Mauritius Police Force Band, then talked about APS and the training that was to take place on board Samuel B. Roberts throughout the week.

¨Thank you for inviting Samuel B. Roberts here to your beautiful city. We felt so welcome hearing your band play on the pier as we pulled into port, that was a first for us,¨ said Cruz.

¨Together we will be working on APS training, operational planning and education exchange during the day, and then our Sailors are looking forward to some liberty and experiencing your beautiful island in the evening,¨ he continued.

Cruz´s final office call was with Lord Mayor of Port Louis Dr. Mahmad Aniff Kodabaccus at his downtown office. During the meeting the official gave Cruz a general overview of Port Louis and its people.

¨The fascinating thing about Port Louis is that it is a melting pot,” said Kodabaccus. “Port Louis is 45-square kilometers with a population of 200,000 and glimpses of culture from the North, South, East, West – whatever you want, you can get it here.¨

In speaking about planned city improvement projects, and in the spirit of global cultural exchange, Kodabaccus talked passionately about the LED street light project he is implementing after taking a nod from a similar project initiated in San Francisco.

¨We cannot grow further, we can only improve upon what we have,¨ said Kodabaccus.

Samuel B. Roberts is an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate that is homeported in Naval Station Mayport, Fla., and is currently on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility.

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.
Source: navy, September 12, 2011;