- Published on Sunday, 08 July 2012 01:28
- Written by JAFFAR MJASIRI
- Hits: 1288
Tanzania and United States have continued to maintain high level diplomacy. It is a proof that the recent visit was a continuation of the friendly relations between the two countries marked by a common goal that the two countries share, that is promoting peace and stability in Africa.
Military analysts say that among other indicators that can define the level of diplomacy is the exchange of military exercises as well as other forms of support in maritime issues. The recent Military Sealift Command-chartered High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) which arrived in Dar es Salaam June 23, for a twelve day port visit supporting Africa Partnership Station (APS) East 2012 tells it all. Swift arrived in Tanzania after spending two weeks supporting APS at two port stops in Mozambique.
This is not the ship’s first visit to the country, as Swift hosted a visit from Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and more than 130 sailors from Tanzania’s Navy participated in training as part of the APS visit to Dar es Salaam in January 2010. This event to the diplomatic circles and military analyst is a great partnership between the two countries.
The hosting of the head of the state is a clear indication of the growing trust between the two countries. It is also an added advantage to help the country build its capacities at this time when the high sea piracy is a threat to the economies of East Africa and the world at large. During the visit Sailors and Marines embarked on board Swift, as well as Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents from US 6th Fleet, conducted training and facilitated information exchange in subjects to include leadership, port security, martial arts and riot control.
According to the military experts aboard the vessel, Swift Sailors and Marines will also participate in community service and members of Naval Forces Europe Band ‘Flagship’ will perform at several venues and receptions. APS is an international security cooperation initiative, facilitated by Commander, US 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. Since 2007, the United States Navy has worked alongside African partner’s navies and coast guards through a series of Africa Partnership Station training events and regional exercises to improve maritime safety and security.
A statement issued by the US embassy said that Africa Partnership Station is motivated by the belief that effective maritime security and safety will contribute to development, economic prosperity and security ashore within Africa. APS is an international security cooperation initiative aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.
As APS operates in its fifth year, maritime partners continue a mission that has brought together over 30 African, European, North and South American countries. The statement further said that specifically, APS will continue to focus on the following objectives: Develop maritime domain awareness (a clear picture of maritime traffic); Build maritime professionals; Establish maritime infrastructure; Develop response capabilities while building regional integration.
As part of the US Navy’s Global Maritime Partnerships, APS provides an opportunity to enhance African nations’ maritime security capabilities and build lasting relationships. Some of the facts availed in the US Military Fact Sheet about the APS include the following:
Africa Partnership Station
Africa Partnership Station (APS) is an international security cooperation initiative aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. APS is inspired by the belief that effective maritime security
The will contribute to development, economic prosperity and security and will help deter violent extremist ideology ashore. This involves US Naval Forces Africa, African partner navies and international partners from Europe and South America, all working together towards this common purpose to find solutions to Africa’s maritime challenges.
Duration of First Africa Partnership Station deployment No, 2012 marks the fifth year that Africa Partnership Station has been working to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. The first official APS deployment took place during 2007-2008 in West and Central Africa using the US Navy ships USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) and HSV Swift (HSV 2). Prior to APS, the US Navy had been steadily increasing its engagement with African nations since 2004.
Major goals for APS
APS is designed to achieve common maritime security goals through partnerships and collaboration. APS specifically aims to bolster regional maritime safety and security throughout Africa’s maritime environment. The three focus areas include deterring piracy, stop illicit trafficking and protecting resources: *
Piracy is not only a major issue in the waters off Somalia, but it is also a growing threat for other areas in Africa - especially in West and Central Africa. By building capability and capacity now, APS is working towards ending lawlessness at sea and ensure piracy doesn’t spread. *
The trafficking of drugs from South America through Africa to destinations in Europe as well as the illegal movement of persons have become significant issues in the African maritime environment and could potentially be a destabilizing factor if not addressed as a unified effort. *
Energy and Resource Security
Many African nations have access to large amounts of energy resources, in addition to other vital resources. It is in the interest of those nations, as well as the US and our other partners, to ensure the efficient movement and security of those resources so all can benefit. APS achieves these goals by addressing four main ‘pillars’ of maritime safety and security.
These pillars are Maritime Domain Awareness, Maritime Professionals, Infrastructure and Response Capabilities. These four pillars of maritime safety and security are addressed through a regional and comprehensive approach.
Expertise shared during the mission
While it depends on the scale and scope of each APS engagement, APS has the ability to bring a series of training teams and experts in many major maritime subjects, including: Search and Rescue Training; Small Boat Maintenance; Diesel Mechanics & Repair; Intelligence Training; Maritime Law; Visit, Board, Search and Seizure; Combat Medical; Dive Medical; Meteorology and Hydrology; Fisheries Management; Non-commissioned officer leadership; Oil Platform Protection; Oil Spill Management; Anti-terrorism & Force Protection; English Language; Construction Training Junior Officer Leadership.
Trainers’ expertise shared; in a classroom setting and using real-world scenarios APS trainers and experts use a combination of classroom, practical, and - in some cases - actual real-world events such as the Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Programme (AMLEP) to help build our African partners’ expertise.
AMLEP is the operational part of APS where African navies employ their professional skill, knowledge and experience to combat crime at sea. Nations that will participate in APS 2012 Nearly 30 countries are scheduled to participate in APS activities this year. Representing Africa: Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Tanzania and Togo. Representing Europe: Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.
And representing South America is Brazil. The African Union on APS The African Union and other regional agencies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) have been briefed on APS deployments and these organizations have been very supportive in our efforts to collaborate with them on improving maritime safety and security in Africa.
However, all the courses are offered to each nation. Training activities are specifically tailored for each country based on their training requirements. It is evident that the main threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean remains to be the biggest challenge in Africa.
It is, therefore, important to note that because of high risk in transporting goods by sea, the insurance companies have increased the insurance premium coverage which supplies of good and business people have transferred the insurance costs to the consumers. There is every reason to hail APS as part of the initiative to help countries in the region to alleviate the suffering of both importers and consumers as well as improving the competences of our security forces towards promoting peace and tranquility in Africa.