32-nation maritime Exercise aims to Develop Skills of Personnel in the Gulf of Guinea & the Atlantic Ocean
Report By: Sheila Satori Mensa
According to Rear Admiral Michael Baze, Director of Maritime Headquarters, United States Naval Forces, Africa said, the ongoing 32-nation maritime exercise is intended to develop skills of personnel that would impact positively on regional security in the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.
To him, “Training during the past exercises led to tangible, real-world success stories and OE21 is a chance for us to build upon those successes.”
Ghana Navy is currently the host of this year maritime exercise for the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean for 32-nations.
The exercise has become neccessary due to the number of pirate activities witnessed in the past on the Gulf of Guinea, a segment of the Atalntic Ocean.
The annual maritime exercise dubbed: ‘Exercise Obangame Express 2021 (OE21)’, is being undertaken in collaboration with the United States Naval Forces, Africa (NAVAF) from March 14 to 27, 2021.
Participating countries are drawn from West and Central African Navies, the United States and Euro-Atlantic Navies and maritime stakeholders.
These countries include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark and Equatorial Guinea.
The rest are Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and the United States.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and their Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) are also participating.
Speaking about the exercise, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu expressed the navy appreciation saying, “The Ghana Navy is once again honoured to host Obangame Express, the multinational exercise that seeks to build the capacity of the Navies in the Gulf of Guinea Region.”
According to him, their focus “Our focus is to ensure the enhancement of interoperability, information sharing and practical implementation of laid down inter-agency procedures towards managing maritime security threats and incidents by all stakeholders.
The exercise, besides the capacity-building component for the participating navies is to ensure a safe and secure maritime environment for socio-economic development.
And this exercise has been designed to involve stakeholders in Ghana’s maritime industry to ensure interoperability between maritime partners, it has emerged.
Details of the exercise, as released by the Public Relations Directorate of the Ghana Armed Forces, General Headquarters, suggest that it will be conducted in multiple areas at sea and ashore, covering the whole of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.
There will also be numerous maritime operation centres partaking in the exercise ashore, and “from across the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa along with several international organisations,”a statement from the Ghana Armed Forces indicated.
The highlights of the exercise would be the official opening ceremony at Burma Camp on Friday, March 19, 2021, a Command Post and Field Training Exercise at centres and areas along the Gulf of Guinea from March 16 to 26, 2021, a virtual leadership symposium from March 22 to 25, 2021 and closing ceremony at Burma Camp on Saturday, March 27, 2021.