A multinational naval maneuver sponsored by the United States Military Command in Africa, aimed at uniting African, European, South American, and US naval forces to enhance cooperation and expertise in maritime security operations, has commenced within the Gulf of Guinea.
The purpose of the exercise, Daily Sun learnt, is to test multinational maritime forces in a broad range of naval operations in order to increase capability and capacity as a collective whole for Gulf of Guinea nations to deter piracy, illicit trafficking, and other maritime threats.
The exercise will take place throughout the Gulf of Guinea, and will have land-based maritime operations centres throughout the region.
Addressing defence correspondents in Lagos on the exercise, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Obed Ngalabak, said the exercise, code-named “Obangame Express,” has benefitted the Nigerian Navy, especially in the fight against sea robbers and pirates.
He said 20 African countries and 11 allied countries would converge on the Gulf of Guinea to work towards improving regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information sharing and enhance the collective capabilities of West African nations to counter illegalities in the maritime domain.
The Nigerian Navy is hosting the 2019 edition of the “Obangame Express.” Eight Nigerian Navy ships, including two offshore patrol vessels, NNS Centenary and NNS Unity, two helicopters and one ship each from the US, Portugal and Morocco would be participating in the Lagos area.