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Sao Tome, July 9, 2020 (Lusa) - The captain of the Portuguese patrol ship NRP Zaire, which has been stationed in Sao Tome for more than two years, confirmed the Navy's commitment to "ensure the sovereignty" of the country and "security in the Gulf of Guinea".

The NRP Zaire arrived in Sao Tome and Principe, with an initial mission of one year. The mission has been extended for another year and will complete 900 days in Sao Tomean territory.

"At the moment there is no date for the end of the mission, so we are still operational and available to continue operating in Sao Tomean waters," said the commander of the frigate, first lieutenant Guilherme Rosinha.

"The Portuguese navy and the Sao Tome and Principe Coast Guard are making efforts to continue this mission of the NRP Zaire in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, to keep it in Sao Tome by committing to the training and maintenance of its on-board equipment in order to extend its cooperation," he added.

This mission is the result, he explained, of the Portuguese navy's "commitment to the security of the Gulf of Guinea, in particular the sovereignty of Sao Tome and Principe.

"Despite all the terrible effects of the global pandemic (from Covid-19) that affects us, we still managed to have some optimism for the future," the commander added.

NRP Zaire arrived in Sao Tome on 22 January 2018 for a mission of cooperation and operational training with the country's Coast Guard. The vessel has sailed more than 2,400 hours and covered about 21,400 miles.

The last ship in service of the Cacine class, the NRP Zaire was built in the Mondego shipyard, in Figueira da Foz, in 1971, and was intended to support the war operations in Africa.

In Sao Tome, the vessel took part in search and rescue missions, fishing surveillance, monitoring of maritime traffic separation schemes, control of pollution at sea and support for the population and civil bodies.

It has carried out 12 search and rescue actions, 24 joint surveillance actions, four maritime safety actions in the field of piracy and seven searches of ships at sea, "having identified two presumed infringements.

"It is a very enticing project that demonstrates well the bilateral military cooperation relations between the Portuguese navy and the San Tomean Coast Guard in the area of operational training and in the area of joint inspection of jurisdictional spaces, thus contributing to maritime safety in the region," explained Guilherme Rosinha.

NRP Zaire also participated, from Sao Tome, in eight international exercises to promote maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea, namely Obangame Express 2019, Memo, Grand African Memo, among others.

In the area of search and rescue at sea, the role played during the wreck of the Amfitrit last April and the support provided to fight the fire on the Ville D'Abidjam stands out, in addition to "aid" recently provided to the tugboat Bensai which was adrift in the area, with more than 30 containers of cargo.

"The NRP Zaire continues its operational training with the Coast Guard of Sao Tome and Principe, with a mixed garrison, maintaining a high readiness to act in the scope of maritime safety of the region and the navigators", the captain said.

The "permanence of this ship helps a feeling of security and confidence with the Sao Tomean population, in a project that dignifies Portugal and strengthens the ties between these two lusophone countries", he added.

The technical-military cooperation between Sao Tome and Principe and Portugal is one of the most intense aspects of bilateral relations between the two countries.

This Wednesday the Portuguese Ambassador in Sao Tome handed the country's defence ministry a batch of uniforms for the Coast Guard and protection and sanitation materials against Covid-19, in a ceremony attended by the Defence Attaché at the Embassy, technical cooperation advisers, commander of the NRP Zaire.

Also participating were the minister of defence and internal order, Óscar Sousa, the Chief of Staff General of the Armed Forces, the Commander of the Army and the Coast Guard Commander.

MYB/ADB // ADB.

Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-07-10 10:13:20







 

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