Nigeria, which has the largest navy in the Gulf of Guinea region, is critical for Africa’s security and stability, a US Navy (USN) captain has said.
Captain Chad Graham, Commanding Officer, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, was speaking after being received by the Nigerian Navy’s Chief Operation Officer, Western Naval Command, Apapa, Commodore Daupreye Franklin Matthew. The visit formed part of a three day sea training exercise involving Ghanaian, Nigerian and US marine and naval assets.
Graham said: “Maritime engagements with many navies working together improve inter-operability and collective capability, absolutely necessary for a busy area such as the Gulf of Guinea.
“We’re happy to be working with our Nigerian partners to plan at sea multi-national engagements and look forward to a successful event demonstrating our commitment to maritime security in the region.”
He is reported by the Nigerian Navy as saying: “Nigeria is the lynchpin for Gulf of Guinea maritime security; our sailors are excited to work with their counterparts at sea and engage with Nigerian communities ashore”.
USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the US Africa Command area of responsibility. The US shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring security, safety and freedom of navigation on waters around the continent, because they are “critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets”.
For over 70 years, US Sixth Fleet forces forged strategic relationships with allies and partners and solidified a foundation of shared values, experiences and vision aimed at preserving security and stability.
The ESB ship class is a flexible platform used across a broad range of operations. Acting as a mobile sea base, she is part of the critical access infrastructure supporting deployment of forces and supplies to support missions assigned.
US Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts a full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to advance US national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.