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APS, Seabees Bolster Liberia's Coast Guard

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS091020-05
Release Date: 10/20/2009 9:30:00 AM

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Jason Morris, Africa Partnership Station Public Affairs

MONROVIA, Liberia (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Seabee equipment arrived in Monrovia Oct. 17 from amphibious landing craft attached to the Dutch Africa Partnership Station (APS) platform HNLMS Johan de Witt (L 801).

A team of 20 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, stationed in Rota, Spain, will utilize the newly arrived equipment to rebuild portions of a Liberian Coast Guard base that were destroyed by factional groups in the country's civil war, which ended in 2003.

"At the request of the U.S. ambassador to Liberia, the Seabees were brought in to do several construction projects, to include the reconstruction of the children's hospital wing at Redemption Clinic and the rebuilding of the Liberian Coast Guard base, which will include the construction of a pier and boat ramp," said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Jennifer Ketchum, maritime advisor in the Office of Security Cooperation within the U.S. Embassy in Liberia. "The overall goal is for Liberia to rebuild its maritime interdiction capability in order for the country to know what is going on in its territorial waters and enforce their laws."

"Maritime domain awareness is currently non-existent in my country," said Chea K. Klogba, Liberia's Coast Guard planning officer. "Illegal fishing and drug and human trafficking is occurring in our waters, and we can do nothing about it. With the Coast Guard being reestablished, now we can fight these illegal activities. This will provide a source of revenue for my country and offer protection of our territorial waters."

Increasing maritime safety and security for the continent of Africa through training and other collaborative activities with African partner countries are the main purpose of APS.

While in Monrovia, Johan de Witt will also continue in the training of 46 African maritime professionals from Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone who are currently deployed on board the Dutch ship receiving instruction in courses such as maritime law enforcement, small boat operations, boat maintenance and repair, medical procedures, damage control, and computer operations. Also, a combined team of U.S. and Dutch hydrographers will survey the harbors of and approaches to Monrovia to allow for safer navigation and better access to port facilities.

APS focuses on building cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in order to achieve common, international goals such as stability and security.

The APS Johan de Witt deployment began in September and will run through November. Port visits encompass stops in Cape Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

Johan De Witt, a Royal Dutch Naval vessel, is the first European-led APS platform and is augmented by staff from Belgium, Portugal and the United States. APS, originally a U.S. Navy initiative, is an international effort aimed at improving maritime safety and security for the continent of Africa through training and other collaborative activities with African partner countries.

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