We are almost at the end of the Maritime Capacity Building 2016 mission.This is an opportunity to give you a complete overview of the mission.
Starting October in Zeebrugge with humanitarian equipment from various Belgian NGOs, the Godetia took the sea to go to West Africa.
Before reaching the African coast, a stop in Lisbon, Portugal, had to be made to go to the Maritime Analysis and Operations Center (MAOC). The commander of the ship received its last instructions for maritime surveillance that we were going to carry out during the mission. It was also during this stop that the first diplomatic reception was organized aboard the Godetia.
The first African port for the Godetia was Mindelo in Cape Verde. The mission was to train Cape Verdean coast guards in boarding techniques and fire fighting. A Belgian officer was at the same time deployed in the Maritime Operation Control (MOC) in order to support his local colleagues for the numerous exercises carried out at sea with their patroller.
The next destination was Gambia where NGO material was delivered to the officials of the city of Banjul. This was also the occasion for the Belgian consul to organize a diplomatic reception on board the Godetia.
Meanwhile, a team of instructors was already training Beninese marines in Cotonou. Benin was our next port of call. Upon our arrival, we unloaded and handed over all the equipment of the Belgian NGO’s planned for various Beninese associations. Then, a graduation ceremony for the Beninese marines was organized attended by the military and civilian leaders of Benin. After this ceremony, a diplomatic reception held by the Belgian ambassador in Benin took place aboard the Godetia. We then went off to sea with a team of Beninese and Togolese trainees ready to undergo training in marine life.
The Godetia had an appointment with other French, Spanish, Togolese, Cameroonian, Nigerian, Gabonese and Equatorial Guinea vessels to work in the NEMO exercise. It was an opportunity for the sailors of all these nations to practice together in specific maneuvers at sea but above all in many boarding exercises. In order to improve the skills of the different OMCs of this region, anofficer had also been deployed in the Beninese OMC throughout this period. This was an opportunity for the Beninese and Togolese trainees to work with French marine firefighters as part of an exercise requiring air support from their helicopter. An excellent lesson for all and excellent memories to some.
After handing the well-deserved diploma to the trainees, the Godetia docked in Douala, Cameroon. It was an opportunity to conduct diplomatic contacts, while saying goodbye to our Togolese and Beninese colleagues, only to welcome other African sailors from Congo Brazzaville and Gabon.
On our return from Cameroon to Dakar – in Senegal- we had the task to teach the trainee officers on board the specific procedures to be used in the control of their territorial waters. This collaboration has also made it possible for all these seafarers to get to know each other better and thus, without doubt, to improve coordination between them in future joint operations.
The Godetia was used in Dakar as reception area by the local Belgian diplomatic authorities. The Belgian ship is indeed a magnificent flag bearer for this kind of event and this was again a success.
Our last African destination took us to Casablanca, Morocco. The A960 Godetia served here also Belgian interests by serving as a platform for various diplomatic receptions. Two officers of the Moroccan Navy boarded the Godetia to experience the life on board until Zeebrugge.
After more than two months of mission, the Godetia is on its way to its home port with the satisfaction of the work well done. Indeed all the objectives have been reached and the ship that has been refurbished is ready to leave for new adventures.