Swift Arrives in The Gambia

BANJUL, The Gambia, Sep 18, 2009 — Africa Partnership’s High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) arrived in Banjul, The Gambia, September 17, 2009.

The ship was welcomed by Bala Garba-Jahump, The Gambia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Barry L. Wells, U.S. Ambassador to the Gambia, as well as high ranking Gambian military officials.

During remarks, Wells spoke on the importance of the visit by the U.S. Navy and APS Swift.

“Visits like this are important because they help reinforce the strong ties that already exist between our two countries. The last Navy ship visit of this magnitude was in 1994,” said Wells. “The United States Navy is committed to many humanitarian assistance projects around the globe, and has, with this visit, transported donated items from ‘Gambia Help’ in Seattle, Wash., and medical supplies from Project Handclasp, which will be donated to the Ministry of Health.”

APS Swift delivered 16 pallets of Project Handclasp supplies here.

Touching on the first such visit in 15 years, Brigadier General Yankuba Drammeh, Chief of The Gambian Army Staff and Brigadier General Sarjo Fofana, Chief of The Gambian Naval Staff, welcomed the ship to the country.

“We welcome you back to the smiling coast of Africa,” said Fofana. “The United States government has long provided much needed assistance and training to the Gambian military, and for that we are grateful. Thank you very much for coming.”

APS is a multinational initiative under Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Africa which aims to foster cooperation between the U.S., European and African partners to enhance maritime safety and security on the African continent.

Swift, homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. The ship has supported various partnership-building operations and training throughout much of the world, including APS.

By Petty Officer First Class Daniel Meaney
Africa Partnership Station Public Affairs

Source: Africa Partnership Station