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US Navy certifies 50 Navy officers, others

Apr 27, 2011, 1:48 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Fifty personnel of the Gambia Navy, seven officers of the department of fisheries and the Gambia Maritime Administration were recently certificated after completing a two-week intensive training course.

Conducted by a team of US Navy instructors, the training session was held at the naval base in Banjul, and covered areas such as maritime domain awareness, fisheries protection and maritime law enforcement, medical emergency response at sea and basic instructors training.

The team was part of US Africa Command, Africa Partnership Station 2011, which is an integral part of US Africa Command strategy to advance US interests in Africa through partnership with African littoral states to enhance capacity to proactively manage available resources and ensure self-sufficiency in the maritime domain.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Commodore Madani Senghore, Commander of the Gambia Navy, underscored the importance of the training course, noting that it would go a long way in enhancing the professionalism of Gambia Navy personnel in the execution of their duties.

“I have no doubt that the objectives of the training were fully met by both the instructors and the participants. The training has also equipped the participants with requisite knowledge and skills,” he added.

According to Commodore Senghore, the ceremony signifies another important milestone in the development of the Gambia Navy in securing the country’s maritime domain.

He commended the US Government through its diplomatic mission in Banjul for the support.

Speaking earlier, Major General Ousman Badjie, deputy Chief of Defence Staff, said the challenges at sea are very numerous, adding that the training session has come at a right time when the navy is preparing to partake in the Sahara Express 2011.

He commended the US for their unflinching support rendered to the Gambia armed forces and the Navy in building their capacity, while expressing hope that the partnership will grow from strengthen to strengthen.

US Ambassador Pamela Ann White in her speech spoke of the interaction between the instructors and course participants.

“This training will help you defend your country’s maritime security. The army, marine, and the navy do things better than anybody else through training, which helps one to gain rapid experience and knowledge,” she said.

She added: “Exchanging knowledge makes everybody better and if your marine, navy and army are trained, the world becomes a better and safer place to live in and that is what we want. We want a peaceful Gambia, peaceful world, and peaceful Africa.”

Lieutenant Commander Robert Hopkins, head of the US Navy team of instructors, commended the course participants, stating that they felt happy partnering with their colleagues in The Gambia.