British Royal Navy Frigate HMS Argyll berthed at Walvis Bay Port on Sunday 5 May to conduct regional engagement for 2 days alongside. The vessel is visiting Namibia as part of a seven month Atlantic Patrol Task Deployment that includes the delivery of capacity-building programmes to the Navies and Coastguards of Atlantic facing nations.
The ship’s visit provided a platform for the British High Commission to showcase the UK’s varied business activities in Namibia in support of the British government’s Prosperity agenda to help boost trade and investment between the UK and Namibia.
British High Commissioner Mrs Marianne Young said: “The visit of HMS Argyll is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate in a very tangible way that the UK is fully committed to supporting our partner nations in their efforts to enhance security, stability and prosperity globally. I look forward to continuing such activities that strengthen the bond between the UK, Namibia, and other countries in the region.”
Argyll’s Commanding Officer, Commander Tim Neild, invited key Namibian Defence officials, the Erongo Regional Governor and prominent British business figures onboard to join him for a business lunch on 6 May. That evening, the ship hosted a reception for wider Namibian government officials, members of the British Business Group and local business figures, as well as British nationals resident at the coast.
Commander Neild said: “I am delighted to bring Argyll in to Namibia in support of FCO initiatives. The opportunity to work alongside our Namibian partners gives us a chance to meet one another face to face and share our unique experiences whilst demonstrating our breadth of capability. In doing so it builds mutual understanding and garners support in ensuring that Maritime Security is assured in the region.”
Whilst alongside in Walvis Bay, HMS Argyll also put some of her 200-strong crew to good use in the community, renovating a local SPCA in Walvis Bay on 5 May. They also took to the football pitch to play a match against the Namibian Navy to further cement strong bilateral relations in the region. The score was 3-1 in Namibia’s favour.
UK assistance to the Namibian Defence Force
The UK joined UNTAG Contact Group overseeing Namibia’s transition to independence in 1977. A British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT) helped meld SWATF and PLAN troops into the Namibian Defence Force following independence. The UK has continued to support the Namibian Defence Force with English language training for peacekeepers and with training for a variety of specialist sector courses. Eight Namibians attended the Managing Defence in the Wider Security Context provided under the auspices of the British Peace Support Team (run by UK military officers) at MAFCO in Malawi in 2012. Another Namibian officer attended the Overseas Directing Staff Officer’s Course in the UK at the end of last year.
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