Written by defenceWeb/Africom
Fifteen nations have concluded Exercise Obangame Express 2013, an at-sea naval exercise focused on counter-piracy and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
It provided African, European and Atlantic partner maritime services the opportunity to work together, share information and refine methods to help the Gulf of Guinea maritime nations better monitor and enforce territorial waters and exclusive economic zones, US Africa Command said.
‚ÄúDuring the week-long exercise participants conducted training to improve inter-operability between maritime forces as well as the skills of individual sailors,‚Äù said General Carter F Ham, Commander US Africa Command.
‚ÄúMaritime partnerships and maritime security and safety are increasingly important in the Gulf of Guinea region to combat challenges including maritime crime, illicit trafficking and piracy.‚Äù
The exercise included a variety of training for all participating forces including at-sea ship boarding and queries, air operations, communication drills and regional information sharing.
‚ÄúObangame Express helps promote relationships between nations to combat illicit activities. Acts of piracy are not just an American problem, they are not just a Cameroonian problem, they are a global problem,‚Äù said exercise director Captain Dave Rollo.
‚ÄúOur naval forces must strengthen intervention capacity, using maritime surveillance systems and reliable equipment,‚Äù said Mebe Ngo‚Äôo Edgard Alain, Cameroonian Minister Delegate of the Presidency in charge of Defence. ‚ÄúThe necessary harmonisation of operational procedures of multinational players involved in securing the Gulf of Guinea guarantees the effectiveness of our naval forces in maintaining maritime security and safety.
‚ÄúMaritime security is a prerequisite for attracting investment, promoting trade and continuing economic development. These guarantee an improved quality of life for our citizens.‚Äù
Participating countries were Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d‚ÄôIvorie, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Netherlands, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Spain, Togo and the US.