Nigerian Navy participate in Exercise Obangame Express, a multinational sea exercise held in the Gulf of Guinea, offshore Cameroon.
MEDIA FACT SHEET
March 18-23, 2011
• Obangame Express is a multinational maritime military exercise organized by United States Africa Command (headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany) and United States Naval Forces Africa (headquartered in Naples, Italy) in collaboration with Cameroon, members of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC), and international partners.
• The exercise is part of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) program of United States Africa Command (also known as “AFRICOM”) and its international partners. One of the objectives of AFRICOM and APS is to help governments in Africa maintain peace and stability in their waters and at their borders so that investment, trade, and economic growth will result in increased standards of living for Africans.
• Nine countries are participating in the exercise: the United States; Cameroon; Nigeria; Gabon; Sao Tome & Principe, The Republic of Congo; France; Belgium; and Spain.
• Seven countries (U.S., Cameroon, Nigeria, Gabon, France, Belgium, and Spain) and CEEAC have naval vessels and boats participating in the exercise.
• The command center for the exercise is CEEAC’s Center for Multinational Coordination (CMC), which is located at Cameroon’s Naval Base in Douala. The chief of the CMC is Cameroonian Commander Sylvestre Abah FONKOUA. During the exercise the CMC will be staffed by Americans, Cameroonians, and other international staff from the participating nations.
• Foreign vessels involved in the exercise will begin arriving at the port of Douala on March 17. On Monday morning, March 21, the exercise will begin when the vessels leave the port to work together at open sea off the coast of Douala for two days. On Wednesday morning, March 23, some of the vessels will return to the port of Douala for meetings to debrief on the exercise.
• In addition to being the primary collaborator with Cameroon and CEEAC in organizing the exercise, the U.S. will have a navy ship in Cameroonian waters for the exercise. The ship, the USS Robert G. Bradley, is a U.S. Navy frigate that sails with a crew of over 200 personnel and which has its home port in Mayport, Florida.
• Personnel from the military services of all of the participating countries will be riding on ships involved in the exercise and/or serving on the international staff at the CMC.
• The exercise at sea on March 21-23 will consist of a series of communications and ship boarding exercises that will simulate several distress scenarios (including scenarios involving pirate attacks, kidnappings, drug trafficking, and the illegal trafficking of ammunition).
• The exercise kicks off on the morning of March 21 with one of the opening exercises being a boarding of the USS Robert G. Bradley by a crew from a Cameroonian BIR “Defender” boat which will carry out a scenario involving investigating a reported illegal activity.
• Throughout the exercise several other boardings of the USS Robert G. Bradley will occur at sea in accordance with instructions issued by the CMC.
• This is the second Obangame exercise held in Cameroonian waters. In February of 2010 the U.S. organized a much smaller multinational maritime exercise off the coast of Cameroon as a proof of concept for this year’s larger exercise.
SOURCE: US EMBASSY, Yaounde, Cameroon.