THE GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
24 February, 2013
SAFETY of the maritime environment for smooth sailing of merchant vessels has prompted United States of America’s interest in this year’s international sea exercise tagged ‘Exercise Obangame Express,’ hosted by the Republic of Cameroun.
The USA, a major sponsor of the programme, is leading fifteen other
countries from Africa and Europe in the
sea exercise billed to end on March 1,
2013. The goal of the exercise, according to US authorities, is to improve maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. According to the Director of the operation, Captain David Rollo, a former Defence Adviser to the American
Embassy in Nigeria,the exercise is aimed at improving the abilities of the
navies of the world to stamp out criminality at the sea.
“The objective of the whole exercise is
to improve communications among the
navies and also improve our abilities to
work together. It is also aimed at
improving our abilities to intercept
illicit vessels. Communication has always remained an issue in world military, we would keep improving on communications.”
He lauded the Nigerian Navy for taking
the exercise seriously and deploying
three of its craft for the operation.According to him, “We are proud of the
Nigerian Navy for deploying two of their
vessels and the maritime patrol aircraft
of the Nigerian Airforce for the exercise. We have Nigerians here in the exercise and instructors for the boarding operations. Nigerian Navy has been very professional, very competent and very much a regional leader.” “My expectation is to be able to have a
successful exercise and be able to bring
everybody back safely unhurt. The biggest success is when you take people
to sea and you bring them back safely.
That is what we have always prayed for.” Rollo added.
The US military chief urged world navies to do away with the belief that piracy is
only a major issue in the water of