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The Ghana Navy has announced that it will, from March 14 to March 27, 2021, host an annual multinational maritime exercise in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) in collaboration with the United States Naval Forces, Africa (NAVAF).
The exercise, dubbed Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2021 (OE21), involves West Africa and Central Africa Navies, the United States and Euro-Atlantic Navies and maritime stakeholders from 32 countries and will be under the auspices of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM).
In a statement, it stated that the OE21 is designed to improve regional cooperation, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of participating nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.
“OBANGAME EXPRESS allows us to develop skills with our regional partners, that would have a lasting impact on regional security in the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean,” said Rear Admiral Michael Baze, Director of Maritime Headquarters, U.S. Naval Forces Africa.
“Training during past exercises led to tangible, real-world success stories and OE21 is a chance for us to build upon those successes.”
Apart from building the capacity of the Navies in the sub-region to maintain a safe and secured maritime environment for socio-economic development, OE21 has been designed to involve stakeholders in Ghana’s maritime industry to ensure interoperability between maritime partners.
“The Ghana Navy is once again honoured to host OBANGAME EXPRESS, the multinational exercise that seeks to build the capacity of the Navies in the Gulf of Guinea Region”, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, Ghana’s Chief of the Naval Staff noted.
“Our focus will be to ensure the enhancement of interoperability, information sharing and practical implementation of laid down inter-agency procedures towards managing maritime security threats and incidents by all stakeholders,” he added.
The Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2021 will be conducted in multiple areas at sea and ashore. At-sea operations will be conducted throughout the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean with numerous Maritime Operations Centres participate ashore from across the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa along with several international organizations.
The 32 nations scheduled to participate in OE21 include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, 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).