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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mission to Africa – Senegal

Mission to Africa – Senegal

Written by: LT Connie Braesch

Post Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk

DAKAR, Senegal- ME3 Shawn Cooper demonstrates handcuffing techniques to members of a Senegalese Navy law enforcement detachment, Sept. 1, 2010. These operations were part of the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership program. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk.

This week CGC Mohawk pulled into Dakar, Senegal, and wrapped our work with the Senegalese Navy. We spent five days along the coast of Senegal and their Exclusive Economic Zone assisting local officials in enforcing national laws and regulations as well as obtaining information on vessels and activities in Senegalese waters far out to sea with a Senegalese Navy Law Enforcement Detachment aboard the Mohawk.

ATLANTIC OCEAN - LTJG Tim Kroll, a linguist currently assigned aboard CGC Mohawk, discusses the ship's location with the senior members of a Senegalese Navy Law Enforcement Detachment. The team was preparing to conduct a joint boarding with the U.S. Coast Guard to investigate a contact of interest at sea. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk.

We provided a platform for a Senegalese Navy LEDET to conduct law enforcement boardings within Senegal’s waters and enforce Senegalese laws and regulations. We also provided experienced U.S. Coast Guard boarding team members to accompany the Senegal Navy LEDET and provide assistance as necessary during the Senegal-led boardings.

During one boarding, the teams located a cache of methamphetamine on board a fishing vessel. The vessel was ordered to port where Senegal enforcement agencies, with technical assistance from the Mohawk boarding team personnel, conducted a dockside investigation.

“It was great to have learned so much in such little time,” said Senior Chief Dusmane Sonko, a Senegalese LEDET team member. “I saw a tight team on this ship and want to create the same in my unit.”

“Working with the Mohawk boarding officers showed me how to take charge during an inspection,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Frédéric Ndione, a Senegalese LEDET team member. “The boarding, which we did with them, was an excellent example of teamwork.”

DAKAR, Senegal- Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk help members from a Senegalese Navy become familiar with the ridged inflatable hull small boat, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Victoria Bonk.

These operations were part of the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) program, which enabled us and the Senegalese Navy LEDET to conduct combined and joint operations at sea that help them move past the exercise phase and into the operational phase. Not only does it broaden their skills and ability to work together, but it also provides a law enforcement presence in the region while the mission is ongoing.

“We learned a great deal from the Senegalese LEDET that will prove to be invaluable to us participating in future AMLEP operations,” said Cmdr. Robert Hendrickson, the commanding officer aboard the Mohawk. “We learned how vessels work off shore and the fishing practices of this region.”

We ended their time in Dakar with a reception, Tuesday. The guest list included Marcia Bernicat, U.S. Ambassador to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau, distinguished visitors from the diplomatic corps as well as the Senegalese and foreign military.

This was the last part of our West Africa deployment and we have completed our work here in Africa. Today we start our trip back across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mohawk’s homeport of Key West, Fla.

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