South Africa is a key strategic partner of the U.S. in Africa’s maritime stability, according to the commander of U.S. Navy Task Force 363, Captain James Tranoris. The task force is based in Naples under U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa.
Tranoris’ vessel the USS Arleigh Burke, a guided missile destroyer due to sail from Simon’s Town to two Indian Ocean islands and Tanzania, had been delayed, and was sailing today because of heavy seas, according to the task force commander.
In a telephone interview with Digital Journal, Tranoris said the, USS Arleigh Burke, was on a “routine six month assignment.” Tranoris explained his Task Force 363 had been involved in the Africa Partnership Station (APS) initiative, which was aimed at improving stability in African waters.
The Task Force commander pointed out that South Africa was important to the U.S. stability initiative. The recent joint exercise was to:
Build and preserve maritime security in the region. South Africa is an essential partner in that strategy. Just like us, South Africa is a maritime nation.
Describing the joint manoeuvres with the S.A. Navy, Tranoris said:
We operated with the SAS Amatola for three-and-a-half days while transiting from Durban to Simon’s Town. We cross-decked 12 sailors from the Amatola, and about 10-12 from the Arleigh Burke.
The exercise that we did is not only part of a growing strategy, it’s part of a growing partnership.
Tranoris spoke about the human dimension of the exercise:
Our sailors made new friends, they’re fascinated by how the South African Navy does things and have made lasting personal relationships.
Finally, the commander ended the interview by saying:
In closing: This partnership we have with South Africa is strong and is becoming even stronger.