Exercise Obangame Express 2023, the largest multinational maritime exercise in Western and Central Africa, is set to hold its 12th year edition in Lagos, Nigeria, on 23 January.
Nigeria will host this year’s exercise in Lagos. The exercise will features multiple at sea and ashore training events throughout the Gulf of Guinea and the Southern Atlantic Ocean, including exchanges on boarding techniques, search and rescue operations, medical casualty response, radio communication, and information management techniques.
“Exercise Obangame Express 23 provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen regional cooperation and share tactics, techniques and procedures for deterring transnational maritime security challenges,” said US Navy Rear Admiral Chase Patrick, director of maritime headquarters, US Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF).
“Together, we are creating a more secure, safe, and economically prosperous maritime environment for Africa’s coastal nations and the global community.”
According to the statement, AFRICOM assists African partners with protecting their maritime economy in order to ensure continued sustainable use of maritime resources and enable the security and stability of global maritime trade.
Conducted by US Naval Forces Africa and sponsored by US Africa Command, Obangame Express 23 is designed to improve regional cooperation, information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of participating nations to counter Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing and other sea-based illicit activity, the US Navy said.
The OE23, one of three NAVAF-facilitated regional exercises, provides collaborative opportunities for African and U.S. forces, and international partners to address shared transnational maritime concerns. NAVAF’s ongoing maritime security cooperation with African partners focuses on maritime safety and security through increased maritime awareness, response capabilities, and infrastructure, according to the statement.
The 29 nations scheduled to participate in Obangame Express 23 include Angola, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, 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).
Last edition saw the participation of the United States Navy Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) arriving in Dakar, Senegal following their participation in Exercise Obangame Express 2022 (OE22), Mar. 17.
Also, the Namibian Navy is currently participated, and deploying it’s largest vessel ‘Elephant.’ The Namibian Ship ‘Elephant’, sailed to the exercise on 4 March with 104 crew on board.