Learning The Ropes

At least 100 Tanzanians have recently graduated from a course on maritime safety and security capabilities provided by the Africa Partnership Station (APS).

Addressing a press conference in Dar es Salaam, a US Navy captain and Commander of APS, James Tranoris APS stated that training aims to improve maritime safety and security in Africa while building lasting relationships between his country and beneficiary countries.

He said students representing naval personnel graduated from courses covering combat casualty treatment, non-commissioned officers and junior officers leadership and small boat maintenance.

“What we are seeing are students, who are eager to learn building bonds that will serve to strengthen the maritime safety and security of the region for years to come,” said Tranoris.

To do this, he said, APS focuses on maritime professional, maritime infrastructure, maritime domain awareness and response capability while simultaneously fostering both a regional and comprehensive approach.

He said APS was in its fourth year and visits both coasts of Africa engaging 22 African nations and involves more than 7,000 maritime professionals.

APS is the premiere partnership program for US naval forces Europe- Africa (CNE-CAN) whose concept originated at the Benin Ministerial Conference in 2006 when a number of African countries together with US and European countries came and discussed ways of improving maritime safety and security in the continent, according to Tranoris.

He said, “APS is a multinational security cooperation initiative, which is always trying to be at the forefront of an endeavour.”

Speaking during the occasion, Tanzania navy Captain Patrick Suwala said he was impressed with the intensity and fire with which world class instructors and trainees were approaching their tasks.

“The students are very enthusiastic and the instructors have come prepared with engaging, practical lessons,” said Suwala, adding, “Everyone is very busy. It is an impressive display.”

According to him, through capability and capacity building, APS focuses on combating illicit drugs from South America making their way through Africa and at the same time, focus on energy resource security such as fossils, illegal fishing and others.

He added that they are deterring piracy which is already a problem in the Horn of Africa and a growing threat in other areas of the continent.

“If maritime law is not enforced now, it could lead to an environment conducive to piracy and other illegal activities,” he concluded.

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