Obangame Express puts maritime security in the hands of nations to whom it matters most. Here are five things you need to know:
1. Exercise Obangame Express is sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness (MDA), information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.
2. Participating nations include Angola, Benin, Belgium, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, Turkey, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
3. Obangame Express locations are throughout the Gulf of Guinea and in multiple areas at sea and ashore. At-sea operations will be conducted throughout the Gulf of Guinea. The largest footprint ashore will be in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. Numerous MOCs will be participating from ashore across the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa along with several international organization MOCs. An Opening Ceremony will be held in Accra, Ghana, and a Closing Ceremony will be held in Abidjan.
4. Obangame Express is scheduled to take place March 20-31 and encompasses an in-port Command Post Exercise and an underway Field Training Exercise in the Gulf of Guinea.
5. Obangame Express’ purpose is to create realistic scenarios that mirror past piracy incidents whereby a hijacked vessel will transit from one territory to another. Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs) during the exercise will be challenged to recognize these illicit acts appropriately and share with other MOCs. Additionally, the exercise tests each individual maritime force to patrol their economic exclusion zones and detect and prosecute illegal activity, accordingly.
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