Around 29 nations’ naval forces are set to take part in the US Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) led international maritime exercise Obangame Express 2023 (OE23).

The 12th iteration of this exercise, which is being hosted by Nigeria, will commence on 23 January. It will be marked by an opening ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria.

It is being sponsored by the US Africa Command (AFRICOM).

The participating countries are the US, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Morocco, Nigeria, Togo, Gambia, Sao Tome & Principe, Italy, Poland, Angola, Liberia, Benin, Namibia, Portugal, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau.

The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will also take part in the exercise.

OE23 is being conducted to enhance the regional cooperation, tactical interdiction expertise and information-sharing practices between the participating forces to counter sea-based illicit activities, including Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

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The exercise will include various at-sea and ashore training activities that will be conducted in and around Gulf of Guinea and the Southern Atlantic Ocean.

It will also feature drills to exchange on medical casualty response, boarding techniques, radio communication, information management techniques and search and rescue operations.

NAVAF maritime headquarters director rear admiral Chase Patrick said: “OE23 provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen regional cooperation and share tactics, techniques and procedures for deterring transnational maritime security challenges.

“Together, we are creating a more secure, safe and economically prosperous maritime environment for Africa’s coastal nations and global community.”

OE23 is one of three NAVAF-led regional exercises that allows African and US forces to address various shared trans-national maritime issues and bolster maritime safety and security.