The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Military Sealift Command:
(BANJUL, Gambia) — High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) 2 kicked off the first day of Africa Partnership Station (APS) West training engagements with the Gambian navy in Banjul, Sept. 13.
This APS training engagement 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.
During the training, nearly 60 participating students will receive training in maritime intelligence, non-commissioned officer leadership, small boat maintenance and operations, and human rights and gender-based violence courses aboard Swift. This APS platform will support sustained and focused maritime training facilitated by instructors from Swift’s crew and the Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training (MCAST) command from Dam Neck, Va.
“The class participants are very active, asking a lot of good questions,” said Engineman 1st Class James B. Elgin, MCAST instructor for the small boat maintenance course. “You can tell that they have come into the course with a lot of energy and a desire to learn.”
Elgin also said that he hopes students will share it with their peers.
“I am very happy to be learning [this material] and hope this training course will give me a better understanding of boat engines,” said The Gambian navy Ordinary Seaman Ousman Badjie, during a small boat maintenance course. “When the course is complete, I will take the knowledge I have gained back to the naval base where I am stationed.”
In addition to maritime training, Swift leadership will participate in key leader engagements with the Gambian senior military personnel and government officials. Swift crew members are also set to participate in a community service projects delivering soccer balls to children at a local orphanage.
HSV Swift is a catamaran and operates with a hybrid crew of both U.S. Navy Sailors and civilian mariners chartered by Military Sealift Command.