March 1, 2021

US boost Kenya’s maritime surveillance of its territorial waters

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma (front left) and Mombasa County Governor Hassan Joho (second front left) with some of the top officers on board the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4)naval ship at the port of Mombasa. [PHOTO BY GIDEON MAUNDU]

BY COAST NEWSPAPER CORRESPONDENT

The United States of America has boosted maritime surveillance along the Kenyan Coast territorial waters after deploying the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) ship which docked at the port of Mombasa on Monday, February 8, 2021. 

The vessel’s highly sophisticated military artillery sea vessel “Woody” Williams, is the first US naval ship deployed to the Kenyan coast in over a decade. 

The war ship was commissioned by the US Navy on March 7, 2020, as part of the class of Expeditionary Sea Base ships. 

The (ESB 4) ship is the second in the Lewis B. Puller-class of expeditionary sea base vessels. 

Kenya’s Defence cabinet secretary Monica Juma, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho and Kenya Coast Guard Director General Brigadier Vincent Naisho Loonena, were conducted a tour of the ship in order to learn more about the state-of-the-art technology and other security features that the ship has. 

Named after retired Marine Corporal Officer Hershel Williams, the 784-foot-long ship consists of a 52,000 square-foot; four-spot flight deck that helicopters can land on. 

The ship can host up to 250 personnel who mainly consists of civilian mariners and sailors. 

A special naval drone placed on top of the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) naval ship that made a courtesy call at the Port of Mombasa. [PHOTO BY GIDEON MAUNDU]

HIGH TECH SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM 

The high-tech surveillance systems used in the ship enables operations such as counter-piracy operations, disaster relief operations and crisis response operations aimed at boosting maritime security. 

Speaking yesterday evening after the tour, Rear Admiral Jeff Spivey, who is the Director of Maritime Partnership Program, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, U.S. Naval Forces Africa and Vice Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet, Naples Italy, said the United States seeks to enhance their relationship with Kenya. 

He affirmed that the arrival of the ship was proof of the commitment between Kenya and the US. 

“It is imperative that we build on today’s success and identify opportunities as we continue to build a strong defense partnership to create a prosperous economic and security environment,” said Spivey. 

He said the visit of the US naval ship to Mombasa is part of US Africa Commands standing commitment to Kenya. 

The US naval ship visit to the port of Mombasa facilitates engagement opportunities between Kenyan officials and military leadership. 

“We look forward to working with the Kenya Navy in future exercises, so that we can also be able to share intelligence information and ideas,” said Spivey. 

The United States is committed to growing African countries through interoperability training, maritime security and safety to allow for freedom of navigation in the region. 

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