U.S. Vessel Provides Humanitarian Service
A high Speed US Vessel, Swift (HSV 2) has docked at the Freeport of Monrovia to begin an eight-day humanitarian visit as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS) West 2012. While in Liberia, the group is expected to assess medical care in the region and provide aid to citizens at scheduled events.
“The goal of the visit to the continent is to increase maritime safety and security; we’ll accomplish that through the collaborative efforts of our service members and the members of the local militaries we visit and it’s great to see the response we’re getting so far,” Lt. Cmdr. Brad Fillius, Swift’s military detachment officer-in-charge told the media.
During the stop, the ship will offload various humanitarian supplies as part of Project Handclasp, which is a U.S. Navy initiative that accepts, and transports educational, humanitarian, and goodwill materials overseas based on spaces available on ships.
A team of doctors and nurses on the vessel will also conduct the Medical Civil Action Program (MEDCAP) during outreach events in the West African nations the ship will visit. Liberia is the 15th African countries the vessel has visited so far, and it is expected to visit Ghana and Cameroon, amongst others to render humanitarian services.
Addressing a team of journalists at the Freeport of Monrovia, the officer in charge for medical, Lt. Cmdr. Rommel Flores, MEDCAP said they hope to be able to build capacity, make friends, and continue those relationships, which are just some of the things to look forward to in terms of making a positive experience.
“The locals help us understand what they’re faced with; we’ll be seeing complicated cases and we’ll be able to work with them to make sure the correct level of care is provided”, he added. The health fair conducted by the medical team will kick-off Tuesday, August 7 with a visit to the Minister of Health and Social Welfare.
During the week-long port stop, several groups will hold subject-matter expert exchanges on topics like port security, infantry and combat medical tactics as well as leadership and non-lethal weapons training.
Those engagements will be conducted by embarked U.S. Marines from Members of Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Africa (SPMAGTF) 12-2 Security Cooperation Team 6, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) instructors who were involved with similar events on the ship’s APS East mission early in the summer.
“It will be great to see the different services working together, sharing ideas and training together, it’s something we can carry into the future port visits we’ll make,” Fillius noted.
The ship hosted a distinguished visitor reception on the weekend where the invited guests got a chance to see the unique capabilities of Swift and share in the friendship building that is integral to coordinating future visits for APS.
APS focuses on building cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services in order to achieve common international goals, primarily stability and security. After departing Liberia, Swift plans to make six additional stops in West Africa as part of their APS mission.
Swift’s crew was greeted by a band and members of the Liberian Coast Guard who stood in formation to be greeted by Swift’s Military Detachment officer-in-charge and civilian captain.