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Prepared Remarks of Commodore, Military Sealift Command Europe-Africa; Commander, Task Force 63, Capt. Heidi Agle at AMLEP Closing Ceremony

February 16, 2016 at 2:34 PM UTC

The following prepared remarks were delivered by Commodore, Military Sealift Command Europe-Africa; Commander, Task Force 63, Capt. Heidi Agle at AMLEP Closing Ceremony.

Good Morning,

Thank you Commander Ferracci for the introduction and for the important work you and your unique team are conducting with our partners here in West Africa.

On behalf of Vice Adm. Foggo, Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, I thank you for joining us at this event and welcome to USNS Spearhead. I extend an especially warm welcome to the Commander of Western Naval Command, Commodore Yawson.

We appreciate your attendance this morning.

To Capt. Casavant, Cmdr. Ferraci, the civil service mariners and military detachment aboard Spearhead, your ship looks fantastic! As you continue to make an impact on the countries you visit and the partners you are working with, I watch with pride and I am impressed daily with your professionalism and the effort you put into your mission.

Expeditionary Fast Transport Vessel USNS Spearhead and its crew have been conducting operations in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea since January, and all of us at U.S. 6th Fleet are proud of the way this team has supported Africa Partnership Station and the pillars the program represents.

Through your operations with Spearhead, those pillars and partnerships are being strengthened. The boardings Ghana led from Spearhead during this operation, included cooperation among the JFEU; the Ghanaian Navy’s Western and Eastern Regions; the Ghanaian Marine Police; and the Tema port authority. They were an excellent example of the progress you have made toward enforcing maritime law in your waters.

We are immensely proud of a particular success our team accomplished this past weekend. For more than two days our nations tracked and trailed a potential pirate vessel transiting west through the Ghanaian economic exclusion zone. Upon notification, Ghanaian and coalition partners began working together to react to the illicit platform, using the Gulf of Guinea relationships and networks we together are devoting our energy to strengthening.

The United States and Ghana enjoy a strong partnership. Both of our nations strive for peace and prosperity. As we build on our partnership through operations such as AMLEP, we continue to forge relationships that will prove invaluable as we work together in the future. Our partnership is strong and extends across many areas of vital interest, including the maritime domain, where our two nations recognize that maritime security is crucial. We see criminal activities such as piracy, oil theft, illegal fishing and illicit trafficking as a threat to the security and prosperity of our people.

Our Naval leadership continues to focus on forging a Global Network of Navies. Your contributions during this most recent engagement build on this concept. Not only did we learn from each other’s capabilities, but we also learned to work together and improve our interoperability. There is no problem too great and no contribution too small for the Global Network of Navies. Our combined, established and tested partnerships will help overcome the challenges that threaten freedom and security in the global commons.

It is imperative that we continue to share our ideas and provide innovative solutions to common problems. We are pleased to have been part of this operation and look forward to working with Ghana in the future as we overcome maritime security challenges together. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my distinct honor to introduce Emil Marfo, Deputy Director, Ghanaian Fisheries, Western Region.

Thank you again for your time and participation in this important event.