USS Ashland Arrives in Mauritius for Maritime Partnership

Gillian Brigham
Naval Forces Europe / 6th Fleet

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, Apr 8, 2008 — USS Ashland (LSD 48) became the first U.S. Navy ship to visit the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius tthis year when it arrived in Port Louis on April 8, 2008. Ashland is visiting Mauritius as part of Commander, Task Force 363 Southeast Africa. CTF-363 belongs to U.S. Naval Forces Europe and is tasked with promoting maritime safety and security initiatives in the region.

While in Port Louis, Ashland and her crew will participate in military information exchanges with the Mauritian Coast Guard, practicing damage control and maritime interdiction operation techniques. Ashland will host a shipboard reception for Mauritian military and government officials and her crew will participate in community engagement activities such as sporting events and community relations projects. The U.S. Naval Forces Europe brass quintet will also be performing for local school children and participating in a musical exchange with students from the Francois Mitterand Conservatory.

"I'm excited to continue the U.S. Navy's partnership with Mauritius," said CTF-363 commander Captain Nick Holman. "Last September, USS Normandy (CG 60) visited Port Lewis and was greeted with hospitality and warmth by the Mauritians. With Ashland's visit this week we are continuing the relationship between our two countries.

"Strong maritime partnerships help neutralize threats to maritime security like piracy, unlawful fishing, smuggling and illegal drug trafficking. The United States is committed to helping our partners in Africa and around the world achieve safe, stable and economically prosperous waters free of these threats."

"For nearly four years the U.S. Navy has been actively supporting West and Central African nations in their efforts to increase maritime safety and security in their region," said Captain Holman. "We want to provide the same kind of active support to Southeast Africa and port visits like the Ashland's to Port Louis are a great place to start."

This is the second deployment of CTF-363's Southeast Africa Task Force. In 2007, CTF-363-assigned assets USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Normandy (CG 60) visited eight Southeast African nations. For many of these countries, it was the first time a U.S. Navy ship had visited in more than 40 years.