The 220 member crew is headed by Captain Angel Cruz. Sammy B, as the ship is affectionately known has five female officers. “The APS programme involves on board classroom training in critical areas such as damage control, fire fighting, search and rescue planning and electrical maintenance. Training has been going on for a week locally for officers of the Mauritius Security Force and the National Coast Guard,” stated Cruz.
“The APS is a long term commitment. This is our fifth African port visit in the past seven weeks after Mombasa in Kenya, Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania, Victoria in Seychelles and Maputo in Mozambique,” he added.
During a guided tour of the naval ship, lieutenant commander Christopher Springs emphasised that for them, the history of their ship is very important. “To get a Samuel B Roberts hat, one has to know the history of this officer and the ships named after him,” he said.
Sammy B consists of various levels, the most used one is the damage control deck. “It comes to use while fighting floods and fires. It also houses accommodation, ship store, barber shop and wall of remembrance. As for the mess deck, it is where sailors spend their time interacting. It is converted to a medical facility area for emergencies,” he said.
The flight deck houses a gym, a helicopter garage and a landing pad. “We are one of the few ships that can accommodate two helicopters,” added the lieutenant. The helicopter’s main mission is to hunt for submarines. It is equipped with sonar, radar, infrared facilities and can also carry torpedoes, missiles and machine guns.