The Famous-class medium endurance USCGC Spencer (WMEC 905) arrived in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for a scheduled port visit Feb. 16, 2023.
The port visit also coincided with the hometown arrival of Ensign Mohammad Diakite, Spencer’s engineering auxiliary officer. Diakite was born in Queens, New York and lived in Abidjan from ages three to 15 years old. During the visit, Diakite’s family visited the cutter for a tour and to witness his promotion to lieutenant junior grade.
“It’s a pleasure to be back and to be part of the growing partnership between my home countries – Côte d’Ivoire and the United States,” said Diakite.
Spencer’s port visit is an example of the strengthening security cooperation relationship between the United States and Côte d’Ivoire. While in Abidjan, Spencer’s crew will conduct maritime law enforcement boarding procedure training with the Côte d’Ivoire Navy.
“Spencer’s deployment has been focused on building ties with African partner nations on behalf of U.S. Naval Forces Africa and U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area by conducting joint maritime security operations focused on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and building regional Navy and Coast Guard capabilities through the Obangame Express exercises,” said Cmdr. Corey Kerns, Spencer’s commanding officer. “We are excited to cap off our deployment by partaking in this incredible opportunity to promote Ensign Diakite with his family in Côte d’Ivoire.”
The United States and Côte d’Ivoire share a proud history of promoting peace and stability in the Atlantic Ocean. Last month, Côte d’Ivoire participated in exercise Obangame Express 23, the largest multinational maritime exercise in Western Africa.
“The United States’ partnership with the region strengthens stability, an essential condition for economic growth and prosperity,” said Joann Lockard, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan. “All nations benefit from free and open access to our oceans. The United States is committed to fostering a comprehensive, collaborative effort to safeguard that access. We are proud of our collaboration with Côte d’Ivoire in this important mission.”
Spencer’s deployment also demonstrates the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard’s commitment and longstanding partnership with our African partners to counter illicit maritime activity in the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Coast Guard regularly integrates and operates within the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of operations. The U.S. Coast Guard’s authorities and capabilities provide the Joint Force with unique tools that bridge the cooperation-to-conflict continuum.
The U.S. shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent because these waters are critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets.
U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area is based in Portsmouth, Virginia and oversees all Coast Guard operations east of the Rocky Mountains to the Arabian Gulf. In addition to surge operations, they also allocate ships to work with partner commands and deploy to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific to combat transnational organized crime and illicit maritime activity.
For over 80 years, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) has forged strategic relationships with allies and partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.
Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.