Swift Commences Africa Partnership Station West 2012 Engagements in Cameroon
The leadership of Military Sealift Command-chartered High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) began a week of Africa Partnership Station (APS) West 2012 engagements in Port of Douala Aug. 27 with several office visits with the military and political leaders in the region.
The ship arrived in Cameroon Aug. 26 after leaving Nigeria, following a weeklong APS visit there.
Swift’s Military Detachment Officer-in-Charge Lt.Cmdr. Brad Fillius met with the various leaders of the commands and departments that will be impacted the most by the APS events scheduled for the week.
“Today was probably the busiest day of meeting dignitaries thus far, but also the most enjoyable because we were able to get the word out about what we’re doing here and hope to accomplish, and get the feedback for future APS visits,” said Fillius.
The delegation from Swift visited the regional governor’s office for Douala, commander of the 2nd Joint Military Region, Commandant of the 2nd Gendarmerie Region, Commanding Officer Douala Naval Base, Surfaces Forces Commander, as well as the Douala Mayor’s office.
“These visits remind us of the importance of the sea; paying attention to the sea is a new way of thinking for us,” said Capt. Lucien Dzou, commander Douala Naval Base. “The training is great too, because when you train one man, you train many more, so APS has been really great for us.”
The visits allowed for an exchange of information on the APS program which includes the classroom instruction that began Monday with courses on port security, Marine Corps martial arts, non-commissioned officer leadership, and maritime domain awareness and oil platform protection classes. All the classes seek to build partnerships and knowledge to confront the emerging issues a nation like Cameroon faces.
“Piracy is a new threat to Cameroon and we are doing everything we can to fight it,” said Major Gen. Mahamadou Saly, 2nd Joint Military Region commander.
Swift’s embarked medical team is also working closely with the Cameroon military doctors to exchange information and expertise. Swift’s crew plans on playing a soccer game with the Cameroonians and sprucing up a local orphanage by painting it during a community outreach event.
The crew will invite distinguished visitors aboard ship for a reception Aug. 29 giving guests the chance to see the ship, understand its capabilities and build relationships that will foster cooperation for future visits.
APS 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.
HSV 2 Swift is an Australian built, privately-owned, privately-operated vessel that has been outfitted for the U.S. Navy. Swift is manned by contract mariners who operate the ship, navigation, and engineering, while the military detachment oversees theater security cooperation efforts.
Naval Today Staff, August 28, 2012; Image: Navy