Navy deploys ships, helicopters, others to bolster security in Gulf of Guinea



The Nigerian Navy on Saturday said that it had six ships, two tugboats, two helicopters and a Nigerian Airforce ATR42 toward addressing maritime challenges  in the Gulf of Guniea.

The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, said  this during the inauguration  of  the 11th Obangame Express 2021.

He said  that the multinational maritime was birthed for regional maritime safety and security.

The CNS, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, inaugurating Obangame Express 2021 onboard NNS THUNDER, Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos.


The News Agency of Nigeria () reports that the inaugurated  Exercise Obangame Express 2021 was  held on board the  Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS), THUNDER,  at the Naval Dockyard Ltd. , on  Victoria Island, Lagos.

Gambo said that the exercise was an annual multinational maritime exercise borne out of the need for Gulf of Guniea Navies to work together for regional maritime safety and security.

“This is as a of the huge resources and vast potential being continuously undermined by multifaceted domestic and cross border threats.

“This challenges the dwindling prosperity of member states,” he said.

The CNS said that the exercise would present  an ample opportunity for the Nigerian Navy to work together with other national and regional navies in the spirit of the Yaounde  Code of Conduct.

“This code is designed to improve operational readiness, maritime domain awareness, information sharing practices and tactical interdiction expertise.

“This will enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guniea and 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,” he said.

Gambo said that the sustainance of this exercise was critical to Nigeria’s national interest, given the huge contributions of the nation’s strategic maritime resources to national prosperity and development.

“The exercise aims at contributing to the freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Guniea by strengthening coordination in the fight against insecurity for socioeconomic activities among member states to thrive.

“This is in line with the Nigerian Navy mandate and other treaties which Nigeria is a signatory too,” he said.

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

Gambo also thanked the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, , for his untiring support to the development of the Nigerian Navy.

Also, the Flag Commanding (FOC) Western Command, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, said that the exercise was  focusing on maritime crime hotspots to improve maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guniea.

“The exercise is an avenue for participating nations within the Gulf of Gunea  and  its  international partners to collaborate toward addressing maritime security concerns toward the gulf.

“The exercise comes against the backdrop of piracy cases, illegal fishing, illegal exploration of mineral resources, proliferation of small and light weapons and other local and international threats within the gulf.

“Therefore, maintaining Nigeria’s strategic deterrence posture and influence in the maritime environment is critical to our economic prosperity and regional ,” he said.

Gbassa said that the fleet which include: NNS THUNDER, PROSPERITY, KARADUWA, NGURU, EKULU, ESE, and Tugboat Dolphin Rima and Tugboat Mira would conduct several antipiracy operation exercises.

“The fleet will conduct several exercises which will also include: protection of oil and gas facilities, fleet manueovers, communication, vessel board search and rescue among others.

“This exercise will be conducted alongside French Navy Ship, Dixmude, in conjunction with other navies that will be participating.

“The exercise will give additional impetus to our overall operational combatant experiences to ensure that our nation’s territorial integrity is maintained in line with the Nigerian Navy constitutional mandate,” he said.

The FOC urged the public, as partners in progress, to be free to divulge credible information to the  units in localities to get rid of all forms of criminality within our space.

Also, Ms Claire Pierangelo, the  U.S. Consular General, said that a secured maritime environment is integral to other dimensions of security.

Pierangelo said that maritime threats in the Gulf of Guinea had continued to evolve and were increasingly becoming difficult to address.

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

“The exercise is designed to enhance collective capabilities of all participating nation’s to counter piracy, illegal fishing and other sea based illicit activities.

“The exercise one of the many ways that the United States and like minded partners ally with Nigeria and the Atlantic Africa to address maritime security,” she said. ()