Contact Us Press Releases AFRICOM Portal
U.S. Navy Hosts Oceanographic Training for Students from Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon
The U.S. Navy hosted a three-day, at-sea training event in the Gulf of Guinea to improve collecting data for ocean and climate research, weather forecasting and modeling, and in support of maritime traffic.<br />
The U.S. Navy hosted a three-day, at-sea training event in the Gulf of Guinea to improve collecting data for ocean and climate research, weather forecasting and modeling, and in support of maritime traffic.



The High Speed Vessel Swift served as a floating classroom for an international audience of 24 academics, military personnel and others from Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria on March 10-13 in the Gulf of Guinea as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS).



The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic Meteorological and Oceanographic Laboratory (NOAA/AOML) conducted the training. The sessions included training in the deployment of global drifters and Argo floats, using Expendable Bathythermograph (XBT) casters, and access and manipulation of web-based data products.



"The trip was beyond imagination," said Rebecca Essamuah, a master's student in the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries at the University of Ghana. "My thesis will be enriched by this experience."



Data collected by these technologies is uploaded to the Global Telecommunication System (GTS), where it is made available around the world.



"All of these technologies provide a low-cost solution for collecting ocean temperature, salinity and current data," said AOML's Shaun Dolk, who facilitated the training. "Compared to the costs accrued in the deployment of a research vessel, untethered buoys and floats are very economical, especially in data poor areas of the world's oceans, such as the Gulf of Guinea."



Represented during the training were members from oceanography departments, physics departments, national meteorology offices, fisheries ministries, and the Ghana Navy.



The training was a continuation of a short course provided by NOAA in Ghana in 2006. Swift and APS helped provide the next step by taking the training to sea for a unique, hands-on experience of the audience.



According to Augustus Vogel of the office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, who is embarked on board Swift in support of APS, the data captured by these oceanographic tools has multiple uses. "U.S. Navy missions also benefit from these data, as they are used in the development of operational products provided by the Naval Oceanography Program," he said.



"These data are used to better understand rainfall patterns, a critically important issue considering the number of farmers in the region. Ocean temperatures also affect fisheries, especially Sardinella populations," said A.K. Armah of the Department of Oceanography and Fisheries at the University of Ghana.



Vogel added to Armah's comments, saying research has found "that bush meat hunting in Ghana increased during poor fishing years. ... Understanding something as simple as ocean temperatures can have effects that ripple through unexpected sectors of a country's economy," Vogel said.



As a result of this diverse APS collaboration on board Swift, plans are also being developed among the training audience to expand into the Gulf of Guinea a pre-existing program of utilizing commercial shipping vessels to deploy global drifters.



Throughout its APS deployment, and in addition to hosting training on behalf of NOAA, Swift has been working closely with AOML to deploy drifters and floats on AOML's behalf in conjunction with the ship's travels throughout the Gulf of Guinea.



APS is a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa-led initiative, executed by a multi-national staff aboard Swift and amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43).



During its deployment, Swift is working with various government and non-government organizations to support ongoing regional meteorological and oceanography initiatives, host fisheries training events, and deliver humanitarian aid to African nations.





PARTNERSHIPS OPERATIONS READINESS