The United Kingdom (UK) Royal Navy warship, HMS Trent has concluded her visit to Nigeria where she supported maritime security in the region, helping the Nigerian Navy develop critical capabilities to fight illegal crimes at sea, encompassing piracy, illicit trafficking and other illegal activities.
The patrol ship is now in Ghana, where she arrived earlier yesterday Monday 25, September. According to the Royal Navy, “HMS Trent which uses Gibraltar as her forward base for operations, is spending the remainder of 2023 operating in and around West Africa focusing on collective security of waters through which around £6bn of UK trade passes annually.”
The HMS Trent had arrived Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday 10, September, for a second time as part of its regional mission to aid allies and partners in driving down illegal activities including piracy and illicit trafficking.
HMS Trent is a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel, named after the River Trent. This is the sixth Royal Navy ship named Trent. She is the third Batch 2 River-class vessel to be commissioned and is forward deployed to Gibraltar for operations in the Mediterranean and Gulf of Guinea. As of mid-2023, the ship was operating in west African waters to help deliver training and prevent maritime crimes such as piracy and armed robbery.
During the ship’s five-day visit in Nigeria, the Royal Marines boarding team trained closely with the Nigerian Navy on all aspects of vessel boarding, search and seizure, and firefighting demonstrations conducted by her ship’s company.
Senior Press and Public Affairs Officer, British Deputy High Commission, Ndidiamaka Eze, in a statement, said after leaving Lagos, HMS Trent and 42 Commando will head to Ghana to continue to train Gulf of Guinea allies to bring stability to wider West Africa.
HMS Trent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Tim Langford said, “It has been a pleasure to witness the strengthening of the relationship between my ship’s company and our friends and partners in the Nigerian Navy. We can achieve so much more when we work together, and the integrated training achieved over the past few days will allow our two nations to work increasingly closely in improving maritime security within the Gulf of Guinea.”
In addition to the trainings, HMS Trent hosted a Maritime Domain Awareness Exchange Programme which had senior leadership members of the Nigerian Navy in attendance.
UK High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery, said, “We are pleased to see a new phase of cooperation between the UK’s Royal Navy and 42 Commando and the Nigerian Navy. This reiterates the UK’s commitment to collaborating with Nigeria’s armed forces to deal with illegal activities at sea in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Thanks to Commander Tim Langford and the entire crew of the Royal Navy warship, HMS Trent for their visit to Lagos, Nigeria. Good luck in your operations on combatting piracy, the illegal wildlife trade and maritime security more broadly.”
The mission of HMS Trent, as outlined by the British High Commission, includes supporting West African allies by helping nations enhance their capacity to combat illegal maritime crimes and contribute effectively to stabilizing the larger West Africa.
The deployment of HMS Trent underscores the commitment of the UK as a global actor to address common security concerns. Baxter stated, “Nigeria is an important and valued defense partner for the UK in West Africa. Our two countries face many shared threats, and we are keen to work with Nigeria to defeat these and to help improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.”
So far HMS Trent has visited the Gambia, Cape Verde Islands, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and now Ghana on her West African deployment.
HMS Trent has been deployed on operations in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and West Africa since August 2020. In 2021, HMS Trent also docked in Nigeria’s coastal city of Lagos, as part of the vessel’s deployment to the Gulf of Guinea to strengthen cooperation and maritime security.