Obangame Express: Nigerian Navy deploys ships, choppers to Gulf of Guinea


The Nigerian Navy has deployed six ships, two tugboats, two helicopters and a Nigerian Airforce ATR42 aircraft to the Gulf of Guinea.

On Saturday, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, inaugurated the 11th Exercise Obangame Express 2021.

The flag-off of the multinational exercise for maritime security was held onboard the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) THUNDER, at the Naval Dockyard in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Gambo said the huge resources and vast potential of the Gulf of Guniea was being undermined by multifaceted domestic and cross border threats.

The CNS said the exercise presented another opportunity for the Nigerian Navy to work together with other national and regional Navies in the spirit of the Yaounde Code of Conduct.

The code was designed to improve operational readiness, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices and tactical interdiction expertise.

Gambo noted that it would enhance the collective capabilities of the Gulf of Guinea and the West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activities.

“It will also enhance the operational capability of the Nigeria Navy in its fight against various forms of maritime crime through information and intelligence sharing,” NAN quoted him as saying.

The CNS thanked the United States through the U.S. African Command and other international partners for facilitating and sustaining Exercise Obangame Express over the years.

The fleet deployed includes NNS THUNDER, PROSPERITY, KARADUWA, NGURU, EKULU, ESE, and Tugboat Dolphin Rima and Tugboat Mira.

The assets will conduct protection of oil and gas facilities, manoeuvres, communication, vessel board search, rescue operations, among others.

The exercise will be carried out alongside the French Navy Ship, Dixmude, in conjunction with other navies that will be participating.

Claire Pierangelo, the U.S. Consular General, stressed the importance of a secured maritime environment, adding that the threats in the Gulf of Guinea had continued to evolve.

“Maritime security is infact, the backbone of healthy commerce; it promotes economic development and it supports the sustainable management of all resources in which the entire region depends”, Pierangelo said.

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