Obangame Express (OE22), the largest multinational maritime exercise in Western Africa kicked off its 11th year with 32 participating nations at an opening ceremony in Dakar, Senegal, Mar. 11, 2022.
Rear Adm. Kevin Jones, director, Logistics Directorate, J-4, U.S. Africa Command, delivered remarks during the opening ceremony. “Obangame Express brings together not only our militaries, but it also strengthens personal relationships as we work together to address the maritime security issues impacting us each and every day,” said Jones. “Growing maritime threats within Western Africa’s Atlantic littorals and surrounding waters requires our mutual partnership to work together and rapidly respond to those challenges.”
Exercise Obangame Express is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness (MDA), information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.
Obangame Express 2022, conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, is an at-sea maritime exercise designed to improve cooperation among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa coastal regions. U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.
Additional speakers included Lt. Cmdr Assane Seye, Senegalese Navy Chief of Operations Branch, and Capt. Thaison Do, exercise director, Obangame Express 2022.
“A credible, capable naval presence increases maritime security, and highlights our shared commitment to the values of integrity and accountability among allied and partnered nations,” Do said.
Numerous Maritime Operations Centers will participate ashore from across the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa, along with several international organizations. Training opportunities during OE22 include boarding techniques, search and rescue operations, medical casualty response, radio communication, and information management techniques.
“Maritime partnerships and regional cooperation enable our nations to share responsibility and collectively respond to challenges and threats,” said Jones. “Multinational cooperation with each other is vital if we want to successfully deter illegal activities from disrupting the maritime domain.”
Obangame Express 2022 takes place from March -18, 2022. The 32 nations participating this year include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, and the United States. Also participating will be the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.