8 Nigerian Elite Warships, 2 Fighter Helicopters Depart For  Gulf Of Guinea

The  Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanual Ogalla has revealed that eight elite Nigeria Navy warships have left the country’s waters to join in a global joint naval operation aimed at combating sea piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

He revealed this to journalists on Friday during the flag-off of exercise ‘Obangame Express 2024,’ in Onne, Rivers.

Represented by Rear Adm. Olusegun Ferreira, the navy’s Chief of Training and Operations, said the eight warships, two helicopters, and the naval Special Boat Service (special forces) would participate in the week-long exercise.

“Obangame Express, sponsored by the United States African Command (US Africom), brings together naval fleets from the GoG and key partners from Europe, the Spanish navy, and North America to secure the region.

“It offers a platform for like-minded partners to jointly devise African-led solutions to transnational threats and challenges for enhancing regional security.

“The maritime security operations will encompass anti-crude oil, anti-sea piracy, anti-sea robbery, anti-fishing, as well as boarding and aerial operations, among other activities,” he said.

Ogalla emphasised that working with GoG nations aimed at securing the maritime environment of the region to foster economic activities.

He recounted recent successful joint operations between the Nigerian Navy and the Cameroonian Navy that led to the apprehension of MV Jasmine for alleged crude oil theft.

“Likewise, through information provided by the French navy, another rogue vessel, MT Big Majesty, was arrested two months ago in the Gulf of Guinea.

“Just a few days ago, the Nigeria Navy, acting on behalf of the Gabonese Government, apprehended MV Blu Shark, demonstrating our commitment to regional collaboration.

“These successes mirror the objectives of exercise Obangame Express, which are already commonplace in our maritime space,”.

The navy chief noted that the exercise aligns with the African Union’s forthcoming launch of a joint maritime task force to enhance regional cooperation in combating maritime crimes in the GoG.

According to him, the 14th of the exercise was being hosted by the Republic of Gabon, with naval expeditions concurrently taking place across nations in the GoG region.

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Rita Elenwo

Rita Aletor- Elenwo, is a professional journalist with experience in broadcast, print and online reporting. A proud citizen of Edo state, Nigeria (Esan South East Local Government) Rita had her first degree in philosophy from Ebonyi State University (2008), PGD, in Communication from the University of Port Harcourt (2020), and currently in pursuit of an MSC degree in communication. Rita (nee Aletor-) is happily married with lovely children.

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