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Nigerian Navy, 24 others join forces against piracy

The Nigerian Navy and her counterparts from 24 other countries on Thursday commenced a multinational sea exercise against piracy, oil theft and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG).

The exercised codenamed OBANGAME EXPRESS 2018, was initiated by the United States in 2010, to boost capacity of West and Central African nations’ navies in tackling vessel hijack and hostage taking at sea.

At least 12 of the participating navies are from the GOG nations, while 11 are from countries in Europe and America including United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Portugal, France, The Netherlands and U.S.

Also, participating in the exercise are the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Economic Community of Central African States (ECAS), US Africa Command, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency  (NIMASA), Federal Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Justice, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), among others.

This year’s exercise would stretch from Angola through Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and then to Nigeria before collapsing at Cote D’Ivoire, with each country staying within their territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).

Flagging off Nigeria’s phase of the exercise at Onne Port, Rivers State, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, said the Nigeria Navy deployed four vessels and two helicopters for this year’s exercise, adding that the deployment was done in line with navy’s core expectations.

Ibas, who was represented by the Chief of Naval Transformation (CTRANS), Rear Admiral Begroy Ibe-Enwo, said the navy would carry out at least four exercise scenarios, adding that the French and Portuguese navies would have join simulations within the nation’s territorial waters.

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