By Omar Bah
A Belgian Navy Ship that is on a maritime security and capacity building improvement mission with countries on the West African coast has departed the port of Banjul on Monday to Turkey.
The Belgian Command and Logistics Support Ship A960 GODETIA, last weekend sailed from Cape Verde to the Gambia.
Gert Laenen, the Belgian Navy Ship Commander, applauded the welcome accorded to them by the Government of the Gambia and said this will further strengthen the already existing friendly ties between the two countries.
He said apart from the maritime security and capacity building improvement for various Navies of countries along the West African coast, their mission is to also donate equipment and supplies of various items on humanitarian grounds.
“The maritime security and capacity building which is focus mainly on the Golf of Guinea is meant to assist those countries in their fight against maritime crime and terrorism and to improve regional safety,” he said.
He said the maritime security and capacity building improvement will help those countries to be able to trace both illegal human trafficking and fishing within their waters, and help protect regional safety.
“Solidarity was the most important aspect in this Maritime Security and Capacity Building exercise…That is why we have brought along items ranging from sport wear, School materials and other items, to be distributed to two Schools in Banjul and some to Local Government Authorities,” he explained.
The Belgian Navy Ship Commander said the Gambia shares a long history of friendly relation with Belgium and their visit which marks the twelfth edition is aimed at strengthening that cordial relation.
Meanwhile, Pierre ML Sarr, the Belgium Consul for the Gambia, said the visit of the Belgian Navy Ship, will yield good benefits for the country, ranging from health and education, to other sectors of the country.
Mr Sarr hailed the cordial relationship that continues to exist between the two countries since the Coalition Government took office.
The Belgian Maritime Security and Capacity Building Improvement exercise for countries on the West African Coast is based on four pillars, defense, diplomacy, solidarity and cooperation, and surveillance.
The media was taken on a conducted tour of the Ship.