Three decades of naval collaboration celebrated

Niël Terblanché

Namibia and Brazil have marked the 30th anniversary of a naval cooperation agreement that has over the decades, strengthened relations and fostered mutual commitment to safeguarding ocean resources.

The agreement hailed as Brazil’s most substantial naval cooperation in Africa, emphasizes the deep-seated collaboration aimed at ensuring sustainable maritime environments and regional stability.

Brazil’s Ambassador to Namibia, Vivian SanMartin, reiterated the importance of the naval partnership.

“Both countries share a commitment to preserve ocean resources for sustainable maritime environments,” she said.

SanMartin pointed to the instrumental role of the agreement that strengthened maritime capabilities, and enhanced maritime safety that has become a cornerstone of regional stability and security across the Atlantic.

The late President Hage G. Geingob aptly described Brazil and Namibia as “neighbours, separated only by the sea.”

The 30th anniversary of the Brazil-Namibia Agreement for Naval Cooperation not only celebrates a history of fruitful collaboration but also coincides with another pivotal moment in Namibia’s history – the 30th anniversary of the handover of Walvis Bay and the offshore islands to Namibia on 28 February 1994.

This period marked a significant consolidation of Namibian territory and the strengthening of its naval capabilities.

The partnership’s early achievements was the welcoming of the Brazilian Frigate ‘Niteroi’ to Walvis Bay on 2 March 1994, just days after the handover.

This naval vessel’s visit signified the beginning of Brazil’s support for Namibia’s naval development, leading to the establishment of the Namibian Navy in 2004.

The ‘Niteroi’ also served as the venue for the signing ceremony of the naval agreement

A highlight of the cooperation was the hydrographic survey of the Namibian coast conducted in 1997 by the Brazilian hydrographic vessel ‘Sirius’, culminating in the publication of the first nautical chart of the Walvis Bay harbour.

The project demonstrated the tangible benefits of the naval agreement, enhancing navigational safety and maritime knowledge in Namibian waters.

Over the years, the agreement facilitated extensive training for Namibian military personnel in Brazil, covering a wide range of maritime disciplines that has resulted in a proficient and well-trained navy, ready to face the challenges of the 21st century.

The 30th anniversary of naval cooperation stresses the importance of collaboration in achieving shared goals and addressing global challenges, paving the way for new avenues of cooperation and continued progress in maritime security and sustainability.

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