Exercise Grand African Nemo held off West Africa

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The multinational maritime exercise Grand African Nemo 2022 that was held off the coast of West Africa last week involved 27 local and foreign nations.

The exercise, which ran from 11 to 16 October, covered the region from Senegal to Angola, the French Ministry of Defence said.

The exercise, organised by France and West Africa, saw the French ship Germinal and the Landing Helicopter Dock Tonnerre deployed in the area as part of operation Corymbe, along with a maritime patrol aircraft (Atlantique II) and Falcon 50 maritime surveillance aircraft.

Some 40 vessels and five aircraft from different nations were deployed, including the US Navy’s expeditionary sea base Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams and a P-8A maritime patrol aircraft.

The French MoD said that since 2018, Grand African Nemo has become the most important annual maritime security event in the Gulf of Guinea. The fourth edition was aimed at sharing know-how and improving the operational level of participants in the fight against illegal fishing, piracy, maritime pollution illegal trafficking and rescue at sea.

Grand African Nemo 2022 participants included Angola, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Sao-Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, United Kingdom, and the United States.

“Through the co-steering of this ambitious exercise, France and its African partners are making a decisive contribution to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. Following Grand African Nemo 2022, the chiefs of staff of the navies bordering the Gulf of Guinea will meet in Paris on 20 October for a symposium during which three topics will be tackled: training and operational training, sharing of maritime information and environmental safety,” the French MoD stated.

It pointed out that the Gulf of Guinea, covering 5 707 kilometres of West African coastline from Senegal to Angola, is a key maritime region. Located at the crossroads of major shipping routes, the region is home to important natural resources, including oil, fish and minerals, which are ripe for illicit activities.

The French Navy conducts three to four regional naval exercises annually as part of the African Nemo exercise series, which culminates in the major annual exercise Grand African Nemo. Starting in 2013, the exercise series trains on the collective efforts to establish maritime security and stability in the Gulf of Guinea.