MANTA, Ecuador (Jan. 4, 2011) – The joint-military crew aboard High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) hosted 15 members of the local print and broadcast media in Manta, Ecuador, in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2011, Jan. 4.
The media learned how the SPS team is partnering with the Ecuadorian government and military in a series of subject matter expert exchanges, information sharing ventures and deliver Project Handclasp supplies.
“This is a key opportunity for us to display our commitment to strengthening our bond with the people of Ecuador and fostering a lasting working relationship,” said SPS 2011 Mission Commander Cmdr. Mark Becker. “The work we’re completing together here is a positive step and plays an integral role in our scheduled future engagements.”
Becker, who is the Deputy Chair of the Warfare Analysis Department at the Naval War College, greeted the media, which represented nine news agencies, and led the entire tour speaking and answering questions in Spanish.
The reporters learned about the ship’s navigational capabilities, the SPS mission and the humanitarian assistance being provided through Project Handclasp, which include a donation of 99 wheel chairs and a generator to local medical facilities.
“We are intrigued about the items being delivered to our country and the crew of Swift,” said Carla Mendoza, a reporter for El Diario and Manavision in Manta. “This is a big deal for us, and people are very interested.”
The two-hour ship tour included visits to the mission bay, passenger area, mess deck, bow, bridge and flight deck before concluding on the pier.
“This media engagement was a total success,” said Becker. “We were able to answer all their questions and provide them with key messages about our mission and our partnership with the Ecuadorian government.”
Project Handclasp is a U.S. Navy program that accepts and transports educational, humanitarian and goodwill material donated by America's private sector on a space-available basis aboard U.S. Navy ships for distribution to foreign nation recipients.
SPS is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America involving information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region.
Commander, U.S. Navy Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the area of responsibility. COMUSNAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the U.S. Maritime Strategy, including Theater Security Cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and counter-illicit trafficking operations.
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Jeffery Tilghman Williams
High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV 2) Public Affairs