High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) pulled into Liberia Aug. 3, to begin port visit in support of Africa Partnership Station (APS) West 2012.
Swift’s crew was greeted by a band and members of the Liberian Coast Guard who stood in formation to be greeted by Swift’s Military Detachment officer-in-charge and civilian captain.
“The real goal of our visit is increasing maritime safety and security, we’ll accomplish that through the collaborative efforts of our service members and the members of the local militaries we visit and it’s great to see the response we’re getting so far,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brad Fillius, Swift’s military detachment officer-in-charge.
During the stop, Swift will offload various humanitarian supplies as part of Project Handclasp, which is a U.S. Navy initiative that accepts, and transports educational, humanitarian, and goodwill material overseas on space available basis on ships.
A team of doctors and nurses embarked on the vessel will also conduct the Medical Civil Action Program (MEDCAP) during outreach events in the West African nations the ship will visit. In Liberia, the group will be able to assess medical care in the region while providing aid to the people at scheduled events during the visit.
“We hope to be able to build capacity, make friends, and continue those relationships, which are just some of the things to look forward to in terms of making this a positive experience,”said Lt. Cmdr. Rommel Flores, MEDCAP team officer-in-charge. “The locals help us understand what they’re faced with, we’ll be seeing complicated cases and we’ll be able to work with them to make sure the correct level of care is provided.”
The health fair conducted by the medical team will kick-off Aug. 7 with a visit from the Liberian Minister of Health and U.S. Embassy officials.
During the port stop, several groups will hold subject-matter expert exchanges on topics like port security, infantry and combat medical tactics as well as leadership and non-lethal weapons training.
Those engagements will be conducted by embarked U.S. Marines from Members of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Africa (SPMAGTF) 12-2 Security Cooperation Team 6, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) instructors who were involved with similar events on the ship’s APS East mission early in the summer.
“It will be great to see the different services working together, sharing ideas and training together, it’s something we can carry into the future port visits we’ll make,” said Fillius.
The ship will host a distinguished visitor reception Aug. 4 where the invited guests will get a chance to see the unique capabilities of Swift and share in the friendship building that is integral to coordinating future visits for APS.
APS focuses on building cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in order to achieve common international goals, primarily stability and security.
After departing Liberia, Swift plans to make six additional stops in West Africa as part of their APS mission.
Naval Today Staff, August 7, 2012; Image: US Navy