Thursday, July 07, 2005
Security has been tightened in Mombasa as one of the biggest US military ships was expected to dock at the port today. The USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), a guided-missile destroyer, was expected early today with more than 300 sailors and 23 officers on board.
USS Gonzalez (DDG 66)The ship will be the first US navy ship to dock in Mombasa since 1999. US Ambassador William Bellamy and senior military officers from Kenya were expected to receive the naval ship. Prostitutes, curio dealers and tour operators were also preparing to receive the Sailors in anticipation of booming business. Curio dealers smarting from a low tourist season arranged their wares at strategic places on Moi Avenue, which connects the port to the rest of the town. Red-light night spots also witnessed an increase in the number of prostitutes, some of whom said they travelled from as far as Kampala and Dar es Salaam just to screw a American Sailor. A Press statement from the US embassy yesterday said the ship was in the region as part of the task force for maritime security operations. "We want to beef up security in the region to ensure that it is not used as a venue for (terrorist) attacks or to transport personnel, weapons or any other material," the statement said. After military training with their Kenyan counterparts, the soldiers are expected to tour the town and other tourist sites at the Coast. The US embassy press attach , Mr Richard Mei, said the one-day stop-over was meant to allow the ship to get fuel and other supplies and give the sailors time off from their ventures in the Indian Ocean. According to the Press statement, maritime security operations were designed to complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of nations in the region.