Maritime professionals from West Africa, Europe, South America and the US have finalised plans for the Obangame Express 2014 naval exercise.

Scheduled to be held later in spring 2014, the fourth iteration of Obangame Express aims to increasing maritime safety and security in the region and includes navies from 22 nations.

Nigeria Western Naval Command flag officer commanding rear admiral Samuel Alade said Obangame Express has been launched as a major programme in the maritime security calendar for Gulf of Guinea countries.

"We have been able to use the acquired capacity to improve security within our maritime domain and the wider Gulf of Guinea area."

"We have been able to use the acquired capacity to improve security within our maritime domain, in particular, and the wider Gulf of Guinea maritime area," Alade said.

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One of the four regional Express series exercises facilitated by US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet, Obangame Express will focus on enhancing capabilities in deterring counter-piracy, counter illicit trafficking, and other maritime threats.

Obangame Express exercise director, assigned to US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet, captain Nancy Lacore said: "Our role is to support Gulf of Guinea nations as they share their knowledge."

Participants in Obangame Express 2014 will be Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Spain, Togo, Turkey, and the US.

During the exercise, personnel will test maritime skill sets, including at-sea ship boarding and queries, air operations, communication drills and regional information sharing.

Obangame Express 2013 took place in the same month in in Doula, Cameroon. It involved 12 ships from ten nations, with training in a number of maritime scenarios.

Defence Technology