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Exercise African Winds aims to better Nigerian maritime protection capability

Exercise African Winds to improve Nigerian counter-piracy skillsStarting on Thursday, the Nigerian Navy will be hosting the combined Exercise African Winds, a programme of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) security co-operation programme of US Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF).

Specific aspects of training will take place in Lagos, Calabar and Oron until October 24, with elements of Dutch, US, United Kingdom and Spanish Marines and Special Forces on the Royal Netherlands Navy amphibious support ship, HMNLS Potterdam.

Company level amphibious raids, marine counter terrorism, sea mine identification and disposal, oil rig protection, riverine operations and insertion and extraction are some of the tasks that will be executed over the 21-day exercise.

In a statement, the Nigerian Navy said African Winds’ objective was to improve the capacity of the Nigerian armed forces to plan and execute joint operations in a maritime environment.

According to US Africa Command (Africom), the focus of NAVAF’s APS is to build maritime safety and security by increasing maritime awareness, response capabilities and infrastructure.

Through APS, Africom and NAVAF work with international partners, governments and non-government organisations (NGOs) to improve African partner nations’ self-sustaining capability to effectively maintain maritime security within own inland waterways, territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.

APS uses the four pillars of developing maritime domain awareness, building maritime professionals, establishing maritime infrastructure and developing response capabilities.

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