By CTF-68 Public Affairs
Seabees assigned to U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 133 turned over a newly constructed maritime operations center (MOC) to the Gabonese navy at a ribbon cutting ceremony May 3.
The ceremony signifies the completion of the physical building and recognizes the collaboration between the two countries.
The MOC project, a 2,100 sq. foot structure, began in June 2018 by Seabee detachments assigned to NMCB-11, followed by NMCB-1, and brought to completion by NMCB-133. It took a total effort of all Seabees involved working side-by-side with the Genie Militaire (Gabonese military engineers) to finish this task.
“The work that has taken place between the U.S. Navy Seabees and Gabon’s Genie Militaire is an example of a true partnership,” said Maj. WooWon Chung, Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy Libreville. “This has been a successful effort by the U.S Embassy Libreville, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Navy and Gabon.”
The facility will be outfitted with modern equipment which will support Gabon in protecting their maritime borders and counter illicit trafficking. In addition, the maritime operations center will support future military exercises with the U.S. Navy, such as Obangame Express allowing the U.S. Navy to fight alongside our allies and partners.
"Efficient, economical, and cooperative, a MOC is an awesome tool for maritime security and safety," said Lt. Cmdr. Ghislain Moussavou, assigned to Naval Instruction Center. "Indeed, this MOC is not only an instrument for collective security in the Gulf of Guinea, but also a platform for national synergy and a decision-making tool for the Navy."
Port Gentil is a peninsula located in the Gulf of Guinea, a location that is vital to the joint efforts to ensure maritime security, regional cooperation, and combating illicit sea-based activity.
“It’s been rewarding; on one end you have Seabees and Genie giving their best on the site to make things happen, the esprit de corps, the exchange of skill and more,” said Lt. j. g. Femi Ibitoye, detachment officer in charge, NMCB-133. “On the other end you have the battalion, embassy and host nation working together to overcome the logistic challenges we constantly faced.”
NMCB-133 is deployed in support of combatant commanders across the globe, providing general engineering capability to enable the warfighter and maximize readiness wherever we are called upon.