Naval officials from across the world have been sharpening their skills in combating maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea in an operation dubbed: “Exercise Obangame Express.”

The multinational maritime exercise sponsored by the US African Command, brings together Cameroon and 21 other countries from Africa, Europe and South America.

The global network is carrying out exercises to enhance cooperation and expertise in maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guinea. The purpose of the exercise is to test multinational maritime security as one in a bigger range of naval operations to stem the criminal activities of pirates at sea and the Gulf of Guinea in particular.

It is expected that the exercise would increase the capacity and capability of the countries partaking in it.

In prelude to the naval exercise, a telephonic press conference took place last March 24 at the US Embassy in Cameroon. The guest speaker was a US military Sealift, Captain John Rinko. In an inter-connected telephone link, Rinko responded to questions from media representatives of the 22 countries concerned.

While discussing the Obangame exercise, the captain stated that it shows the seriousness and commitment of the countries around the world to stop maritime crime, insisting that “all we need is collaboration.”

In addition to the 22 countries are regional organisations such as the Economic Community of West African states, ECOWAS, and the Economic Community of Central Africa States, ECCAS, who are equally called upon to give their full support to the exercise.

By Rosine Nkeh Mankaah (Student, National Polytechnic Bambui)