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Navy to use warships, choppers for multinational sea exercise

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A naval war ship

• Partners 20 African nations, 11 others
The navy is set to deploy several warships and helicopters to participate in a multinational sea exercise code-named ‘Exercise Obangame Express’.

According to the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Obed Ngalabak, the navy will host 20 African nations and 11 allied countries.

During the five-day sea exercise, the navy is expected to host the United States, Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic, Senegal, Cameroon, among other navies.

Eight ships, including two offshore patrol vessels (NNS Centenary and NNS Unity), two helicopters, and one ship each from the U.S., Portugal and Morocco will participate in Lagos during the exercise hosted by the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ette-Ibas.

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Ngalabak said the exercise was aimed at assessing and improving Gulf of Guinea (GoG) law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security, improve knowledge of African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) planning and operations, and shape security force assistance efforts.

The overall objective, he added, is to exercise each of the participating countries’ capabilities in Maritime Domain Awareness and Maritime Interdiction Operations.

He said: “The first Obangame Express is an annual multi-phased exercise sponsored by the U.S. Naval Force Africa (US NAVAF).

“The first Obangame Express was held in 2010 to promote the importance of regional cooperation between all the navies in the GoG. It is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information sharing and enhance the collective capabilities of GoG and West African nations to counter illegalities in the maritime domain.

“Specifically, the exercise objectives include to demonstrate and evaluate maritime operation centres inter-operability across the region and demonstrate and evaluate tactical maritime interdiction operations capability.

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