NNS Thunder F90
PHOTO CREDIT: ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY
VOICE OF NIGERIA
14 April, 2014
Written by Chiamaka Ikechukwu Lagos
The Nigerian Navy is set to host
multinational maritime exercise to
enhance security in the maritime
environment and the Gulf of Guinea.
“The huge resources in the Gulf of
Guinea are being undermined by
multifaceted domestic, regional and international threats and vulnerabilities,’’ the Flag Officer in
charge of Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade told
newsmen at a press conference in
Lagos, to herald the beginning of
Exercise Obangame Express 2014.
Alade said pervasive insecurity in this resource laden maritime environment has resulted in multi-billion dollars losses annually, significantly constrained investment and economic prospects, growing crime and
potentially adverse political
According to him,”Nigeria like any
other maritime nation relies on the
sea for harvesting of resources,
commerce and international trade.For some years, effort has been
intensified to tackle security challenges of piracy, poaching,
smuggling, oil theft, trafficking and
other transnational crimes.’
“The challenges posed by sea-based
crimes are such that no single nation is capable of effectively combating them all alone,’’ Alade stated. He said the situation calls for synergy of efforts among maritime nations towards ensuring a safe and secure maritime environment.
“In this regard, and to further
consolidate our effort towards zero
oil theft and other illegality, the
Nigerian Navy, the United States
government, its European partners,
Gulf of Guinea nations and other maritime nations of Africa have
decided to come together to conduct annual multinational maritime security exercise, known as OBANGAME EXPRESS,” he explained.
Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS is a
maritime interdiction exercise based on simulated scenarios of the most prevalent transnational crimes at sea. It is designed to improve cooperation among participating nations, to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The exercise involves operations such as visit, board, search and seizure techniques and its focus is on improving interoperability of communications and sharing of Maritime Domain Awareness information with a view to harnessing their collective efforts to combat crime in the region.
The word ‘OBANGAME’ comes from
Camerounian Fang language which
means ‘togetherness.’ The name was selected by African participants as proof of their commitment to promoting regional cooperation among navies of the countries in the Gulf of Guinea.
The participating countries are United States of America, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Brazil and Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal; the host nation Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea, Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Togo, Republic of Congo and Sao Tome and Principe while South Africa is being expected as observer.
Fourteen foreign ships are also
expected to participate in the
exercise in Lagos while Nigerian
Navy ships THUNDER, KYANWA,
ZARIA, ANDONI, IKOT-ABASI, BENIN, IBUSA, DORINA, EGEDE and TORIE will also participate.
Two Nigerian Navy helicopters and
Nigerian Air Force ATR 42 aircraft
will provide air cover in terms of
Surveillance, Medical Evacuation
and Search and Rescue.
Nigeria participated in OBANGAME
EXPRESS for the first time in 2010
as an observer. At the 2011 Edition
hosted by Cameroun, the Nigerian
Navy participated fully. The Exercise
was hosted by Nigeria in 2012 and it is still hosting this year’s edition.