Friday, May 2, 2008
In a bid to curb the menace of illegal sea activities such as poaching, smuggling, drug and human trafficking, amongst others, the United States Defence Force, through its Ambassador to The Gambia, Barry L.Wells, on Wednesday, handed over Maritime Security and Safety Information System(MSSIS) project and Solar Power System, to The Gambia Armed Forces, at a ceremony held at the Naval Command in Banjul.
The MSSIS network is to assist and provide emerging partners with capability to detect, track, identify, display and share information on cooperative merchant vessels to enable marine security and safety operations
Speaking at the ceremony, Major General Lang Tombomg Tamba, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of The Gambia Armed Forces said, he is now relieved and comfortable that his headquarters will now have the capability to know through this MSSIS, all the maritime activities that may take place within our territorial waters and beyond.
“In a battle, he who gains superiority, wins the fight and this has convinced me to believe that the centre of gravity in Maritime Security would be vital information superiority. This requires the employment of new technologies in order to achieve the most comprehensive picture of activities at our sea”, Major General Tamba noted.
According to Major General Tamba, no nation or organisation will have a monopoly on this information, adding that it is necessary to develop systems and tecniques that can link all possible sources of information that will help them to quickly react and fight illegal shipping behavior within their immediate territorial waters and beyond.
Major General Tamba, on behalf of Alhaji Dr. Yahya Jammeh, President and Commander in Chief of The Gambia Armed Forces, thanked the US government, through their Ambassador Barry L. Wells for their support to The Gambia Armed Forces.
For his part, Barry L. Wells, US Ambassador to The Gambia, recalled that in February 2008, three members of the US Navy arrived in The Gambia, to install an Automatic Identification System (AIS) for The Gambia Navy.
He expressed delight at officially handing over the MSSIS project as well as presenting a solar power system worth over $ 20,000 to The Gambia Navy.
“The MSSIS is an unclassified computer network system that provides the ability for any country in the area of responsibility to connect and become a contributing data-sharing partner with their neighbours, their religion and the United States, he explained.
According to him, the objective of the MSSIS network is to assist and provide emerging partners with capability to detect, track, identify, display and share information on cooperative merchant vessels to enable marine security and safety operations.
He added: “ The Gambia is currently connected to the MSSIS network and is ready to go. Fifteen other African nations are also connected to the MSSIS network as are over 45 countries around the world”, Ambassador Wells said. He urged The Gambia Armed Forces to make good use of this project.
Lt. Col. Sarjo Fofana, Navy Commander hailed the US government for their timely intervention. He promised that the project will be wisely used.
Lt. Commande Sillah Kujabi delivered the vote of thanks.
Author: by Assan Sallah