A multinational maritime exercise in the Gulf of Guinea, involving West and Central African navies, in collaboration with the United States Naval Forces, Africa (NAVAF), is underway.
The exercise, Obangame Express, is designed to build the capacity of the navies in the Gulf of Guinea region to maintain a safe and secured maritime environment for socio-economic development.
More than 200 participants from navies and maritime stakeholders from 31 countries in the West and Central African sub region are taking part in the exercise in partnership with the United States and Euro-Atlantic navies.
Obangame Express 2023 is being conducted in multiple areas at sea and ashore, a statement issued by the Public Relations Directorate, Ghana Army and signed by Naval Captain Michael Addo Larbi, said.
This year's exercise, which officially commenced on January 23 2023 in Lagos, Nigeria, is expected to end with a closing ceremony on February 3 2023 in Accra, Ghana,
“The exercise will focus on the practical implementation of laid down inter-agency procedures towards managing maritime security threats and incidents, as well as focus on information sharing between maritime stakeholders,” the statement said.
All exercise scenarios will be coordinated in the Exercise Control Group (ECG) centre at Lagos, Nigeria.
“Numerous Maritime Operation Centres are also participating ashore from across the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa with several international organizations.
“A Command Post Exercise was held from the 23 – 27 January at the Naval Headquarters, Naval Training Command, Western and Eastern Naval Commands and Ghana's Territorial Waters,” it said.
The Field Training exercise commenced on 28 January and is still ongoing. Some of the exercise scenarios include Anti-Piracy, Armed Smuggling, Oil Spillage Management, Anti-Narcotics, Anti-Human Trafficking and Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
Some of the 31 countries participating in the exercise are: Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, and Canada.
Others are Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Netherlands, Morocco, and Poland.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) are also participating