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APS 2012 Planning Conference in Norfolk, APS 2011 Continues
More than 250 military, government and civilian personnel from African, European and South American countries and the United States met in Norfolk the week of May 16, 2011 to begin planning for Africa Partnership Station (APS) engagements to take
More than 250 military, government and civilian personnel from African, European and South American countries and the United States met in Norfolk the week of May 16, 2011 to begin planning for Africa Partnership Station (APS) engagements to take place in 2012.

"We all know the issues: illegal fishing, illegal oil bunkering, maritime transport of narcotics, human trafficking, piracy," said Ambassador James D. McGee, Foreign Policy Advisor at U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. "APS is the perfect vehicle to address these issues."

McGee continued saying that through the professional development of navies and coast guards, partner nations will be able to protect valuable resources and territorial rights.

During the APS main planning conference, 18 African, four European, one South American and American representatives came together to begin developing plans for maritime exercises, training events and port visits in Africa.

"The security of the sea belongs to all of us; however, there are threats preventing us from harvesting the resources of the sea," said Commodore Andrew Dacosta, director of training for the Nigerian Navy. "APS has helped us realize the needs for collaboration, cooperation for the collective security of the maritime environment."

Dacosta said 80 percent of countries in the world have a coastline and most of the world's population lives within 500 kilometers of the coast.

"We have a common maritime heritage, so let's come together to protect it," he said.

APS 2011 is currently ongoing with the next training engagement scheduled for June in Douala, Cameroon.

APS is an international initiative that aims to improve maritime safety and security in Africa and has experienced steady growth in African as well as European and South American involvement since its inception in 2007. By working together, APS participant countries will continue to train to properly face maritime issues challenging African nations.

What began as a series of training engagements and port visits on the west coast of Africa has grown into a platform of international partnerships and maritime security training from multiple countries. Since 2009, APS has expanded to include the eastern waters of the continent with countries such as Mozambique, Seychelles and Tanzania.
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