The Nigerian Navy deployed six warships and 65 gunboats on Wednesday in a joint multinational maritime exercise comprising 16 foreign navies from Europe, America and Africa.
Participating countries are the United States, France, Italy, Brazil, and countries in the Gulf of Guinea, including Angola, Benin, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Others are Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Republic of the Congo, and São Tomé and Príncipe.
Rear Admiral Perry Onwuzulike, Fleet Commander, Eastern Naval Command, Nigerian Navy, marked the four-day exercise labeled: “Exercise Grand Africa Nemo 2020” at Onne, Rivers.
Onwuzulike said the exercise aimed to develop the capacity of the various navies for maritime security operations within the Gulf of Guinea countries.
“The Grand Africa Nemo 2020 exercise is an annual ritual organized by the French Government in collaboration with the United States and the European Union, among others.
“The objective of the exercise is the development of capacity towards maritime interdiction operations and security operations in the area.
“The exercise is an ongoing exercise to secure the territorial waters of the nation and the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
He noted that the Nigerian Navy (NNS) vessel Okpabana, NNS Thunder, NNS Andoni, NNS Gongola, NNS Shiroro and NNS Kyanwa would participate in the exercise alongside other foreign naval fleets.
According to Onwuzulike, the exercise would also be used to train troops in the use of the country’s maritime domain awareness infrastructure for surveillance and threat assessment.
“It will also be used to train our men and boats in the conduct of boarding, searching and seizing vessels, as well as how to handle exhibits of evidence after arrest.
“The idea is to develop capacity and training in the Gulf of Guinea in accordance with the protocols of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct,” he added.