A US navy frigate, USS Robert G. Bradley is visiting Freetown throughout this week as part of the U.S Navy’s Africa Partnership Station (APS) programme.
APS is an international security operation initiative, facilitated by the U.S Naval Forces Europe- Africa and other international partners. It aims to strengthen global maritime partnership through training and other collaborative activities in order to improve maritime security in Africa.
The APS mission is focused on combating the illegal trafficking of drugs and persons, and safeguarding natural resources.
Speaking to journalists, Government officials, and a cross section of the crew, the Captain Darryl Brown said they would be in the country up to the weekend training naval officers of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, to arrest illegal vessels fishing or doing illegal work in Sierra Leone’s territorial waters. He also said that they would want to learn about the culture of the country.
The Robert G Bradley (RGB) is a 4,100 ton U.S Navy Frigate with a crew of 17 officers and 198 enlisted persons. While visiting Freetown, the RGB crew will conduct a number of courses and activities in conjunction with their counterparts in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). The purpose of the course is to build on the strong cooperation that already exists between the government of Sierra Leone and the United States, as well as to build maritime skills and promote regional peace and stability.
Three Sierra Leonean citizens are currently working onboard the RGB to help support the Africa partnership station. During the week crew members from the RGB will also visit sites in and around Freetown to assist with community service projects. Journalists were also taken on a conducted tour of the ship.
By Nancy Koroma