[Source: ADF Africa Defense Forum] More than 20 nations recently completed the Grand African Navy Exercise for Maritime Operations (NEMO) 2022, an annual event led by the French Navy.
The first phase focused on at-sea skills such as boarding vessels to combat illegal fishing, piracy, drug trafficking, pollution and performing at-sea rescues. The second phase focused on collaboration and information sharing between national maritime operational centers, maritime coordination centers and regional maritime safety centers.
“This exercise is organized in the framework of the code of conduct resulting from the Yaoundé process,” Nigerian Navy Chief of Staff Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo said in a report by Nigerian news channel Silverbird News24. “We aim to create a safe and secure maritime environment for shipping and other activities through the prevention of piracy, sea robbery, crude oil thefts, illegal conquering and other forms of criminalities.”
Other participating African nations included Angola, Benin, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Morocco, São-Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, according to a news release from the French Navy. Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States also participated.
About 30 surface vessels and five aircraft participated throughout the weeklong exercise that began October 10. Among the vessels was the U.S. Navy ship USS Hershel “Woody” Williams.
The event was not limited to simulations. During the exercise, a French Falcon 50 aircraft located a fishing vessel in distress, and authorities guided a nearby merchant vessel to help seven fishermen on board. In another drill, the French frigate Germinal and its embarked helicopter located a canoe suspected of drug smuggling and guided an Ivoirian patrol boat to intercept the canoe.