By: NenehGalleh Barry
A Belgian navy ship has made a stopover at Banjul port as part of its West African tour of mission.
The Belgian command and logistical support ship called the A960 GODETIA arrived in the Gambia as part of its Operation Maritime Capacity Building 2018 (MCB18). Addressing a press conference held inside the ship that docked in Banjul over the weekend, the Commander of the ship, GertLaenen revealed that their mission to the Gambia was geared towards strengthening solidarity and cooperation between the two friendly nations based on Belgian defense diplomacy and surveillance.
As part of its programs, the ship delivered gifts to Gambian organizations and dwellers of Banjul City as it was the case during the 2016 edition of the mission along the shores of West Africa. According to Laenen the ship has been coming to the Gambia more than 12times. But, he says, this one is the first time of the Maritime Capacity Building 2018 Mission to the Gambia to strengthen relations as well as detect, monitor and fight together against maritime crime and ensure regional safety of local economies. He went further to say that maritime capacity building 2018 was the fourth MCB edition with the overall aim of improving maritime security along the West African shores through cooperation. Belgium’s command and logistical support ship A960 GODETIA is said to be sailing for Cape Verde and the Gambia under the MCB18 which is based on four pillars of: solidarity, cooperation, diplomacy and surveillance.
“Maritime crime threatens the safe passage of commercial vessels through the region’s sea lanes, as such affecting local economies. In an effort to improve and maintain maritime security in West African waters, Belgian and Cape Verdean sailors exchange best practices, share experience and train together,” he said. According to him, detecting, monitoring and reporting of suspicious activities at sea is another way in which the Belgian Navy aims to keep the West African waters save and secure during MCB18. The ship supports national efforts and several international initiatives for maritime surveillance.
The commander also explained that the Belgian Navy took the opportunity to support various solidarity projects in Gambia’s capital, Banjul, by transporting materials in form of aids from charitable organizations and representatives of Ostend a town in Belgium. Other speakers included Pierre L.M Sarr, the Belgian consul and Peter Vanslambrouch coordinator. Sarr assured the Belgians that the donated material would be put in to good use for the benefit of all.
By: NenehGalleh Barry