USS Hershel Williams exercises with Nigerian Navy


The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) conducted an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) demonstration, a fleet manoeuvre exercise, and an oil platform security and boarding exercise with the Nigerian Navy in the Gulf of Guinea between 29 September and 3 October.

The Nigerian Navy ships NNS Prosperity (P21), NNS Okpabana (F93), NNS Ekulu (P188), and NNS Nguru (P187) worked with Hershel “Woody” Williams and the Lagos-based Maritime Operations Centre to track vessels of interest and simulate interceptions and boardings off the Nigerian coast.

“The Nigerian Navy is a leader in maritime security in Atlantic Africa,” said Captain David L Gray, commanding officer, Hershel “Woody” Williams, Blue Crew. “We are excited to work alongside our Nigerian Navy counterparts to reinforce our joint commitment to security and stability in the region.”

The units conducted the exercise to build partner capacity and exercise Nigerian capabilities to track and intercept vessels of interest within the country’s Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ), the US Navy said. Hershel “Woody” Williams also deployed a UAV to demonstrate the unique capabilities provided by the system.

No boardings or personnel transfers were conducted during the training evolution as a precaution against COVID-19.

Hershel “Woody” Williams is on a regularly-scheduled deployment to the US Naval Forces Africa area of operations and is a key element in integration between US Navy and Marine Corps operations, especially Marine aviation and support to amphibious operations, the US Navy said.

“Other operations and training the ship can conduct include support to Special Operations, command and control, and staging of equipment and other assets, as directed. The ship will be a long-term presence assigned to the US Africa Command mission set and will support security cooperation missions and operations in and around the African continent.”