Royal Netherlands Navy Ship, International Marine Task Force Stop in Ghana
The Royal Netherlands Navy landing platform dock HNLMS Rotterdam (L800) arrived in Sekondi, Ghana for a comprehensive set of security-enhancing activities that fall under the international partnership program Africa Partnership Station (APS), Sept. 28.
Rotterdam and embarked International Marine Task Force comprised of U.S. and several European Marine units will work with Ghanaian ground forces to conduct an amphibious landing and exchange best practices in jungle warfare, hand-to-hand combat, humanitarian assistance and noncombatant evacuations.
Members of Rotterdam and other Dutch personnel will also focus on maritime activities such as visit, board, search and seizure; maritime operations center planning and execution; medical skills and health services; and facilitate a conference to increase interagency for those in fisheries.
APS, now in its sixth year, is an international security cooperation aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve safety and security in Africa both at sea and ashore.
http://thechronicle.com.gh/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ii.jpg ‘It’s a good integration between the U.S. Marines, U.K. Royal marines, Spanish marines and Dutch marines,’ said Royal Netherlands Marine Corps Sgt. Major Eric Blumers. ‘We have a lot of people from different countries onboard who are all contributing to these complex evolutions. It’s a great experience for everyone; I think everyone is really pleased with the way things are going.’
The Rotterdam is currently on a multifaceted deployment called Africa Winds, of which a large number of its activities are dedicated to the Africa Partnership Station program. The ship recently visited Senegal to build interoperability and enhance skill sets of the Senegalese forces, under APS, through a series of tactical exchanges conducted by the ship’s force and the International Marine Task Force.
The activities about to commence in Ghana will be very similar to what had just completed in Senegal. The U.S. and European participants feel that the benefits of APS are truly mutual for all that are involved.
‘Everyone is really excited to work with each other as well as learn from each other,’ said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Skyler R. Jones, from St. Augustine, Fla., assigned to the 2nd Marine Division’s 2nd Assault Amphibious Battalion from Camp Lejeune, N.C. ‘The cross training that occurs is truly amazing. I’ve enjoyed working with everyone. All of the countries involved are very appreciative.’
Overall, participating Marine units are building unity as a combined landing force as well as strengthening partnerships with African partners they are working with.
‘I have told all the unit commands that it is my intent to make one team. And if you have seen them work together here onboard the ship and ashore, it is fantastic, really fantastic,’ said Royal Netherlands Marine Corps Col. Frederik R. Swart, commander of Netherland Landing Forces participating in the APS program. ‘I am really enthusiastic about this whole deployment.’
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