A multi-national annual maritime Exercise nick named ‘Obangame Express involving Navies of 30 countries, will kick off on Thursday 23 March 2017 I Nigerian waters.
The Exercise is sponsored by U.S Africa Command and is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.
A statement from Naval headquarters, signed by Acting Director, Naval Information, Captain Suleiman Dahun, said “The Exercise will be conducted in phases within the territorial waters of the participating nations.
“Thirty nations are scheduled to participate in this year’s exercise including Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Norway and Mauritania.
Others are Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, South Africa, Togo, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the United States, along with regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
Dahun said, “The Nigerian phase of Exercise Obangame Express is scheduled for 24 – 28 March 2017 and will be conducted in the nation’s waters.
“Nigerian Navy Ship Okpabana, Nigerian Navy Ship Centenay, Nigerian Navy Ship Sagbama and one helicopter will be participating in the Exercise along with a French Navy ship, Jacoubet, which will sail into the Nigerian waters from Cameroon.
“The ships will perform several exercises as will be presented by the exercise scenario.
“Exercise Obangame Express’s purpose is to create realistic scenarios that reflect past piracy incidents whereby a hijacked vessel will transit from one territory to another.
“Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs) during the Exercise will be challenged to recognize these illicit acts appropriately and share with other MOCs.
“Additionally, the Exercise will test each individual maritime force to patrol their Exclusive Economic Zones and detect and prosecute illegal activity accordingly” he said.
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