The annual multinational maritime exercise in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) code-name
OBANGAME EXPRESS” 2021 (OE21) has officially been launched at the Burma Hall in Accra on
Friday, 19 March 2021.
The Exercise which is hosted by the Ghana Navy in collaboration with the United States
Naval Forces, Africa (NAVAF) commenced on the 14th of March and it is expected to climax
27 March, 2021.
The Guest of Honour, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Vice Admiral Seth Amoama who
represented the Minister for Defence, Hon Dominic Nitiwul in an address, indicated some
challenges in the maritime space which he said could possibly be addressed when maritime
enforcement agencies had the requisite capacity and capabilities to deal with them.
Vice Admiral Amoama added that, the interrelated insecurities and crimes in the Gulf of
Guinea called for an integrated approach since it threatened not only the economies of
various countries, but also global trade and economic securities. He, therefore, hoped
the 2021 edition of Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS will be more successful than previous ones
as well achieve its objectives.
The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu in his address stated
the exercise sought to bring together Navies in the sub-region and beyond to enable them
share information and ideas that would ensure a safer maritime space.
He added that the Exercise would give a forum for participants to exercise and validate
combined doctrine and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), to deal with the challenges
the maritime sector. The CNS expressed gratitude to the United States Government for
immense support in ensuring that “Obangame Express 2021” becomes a success.
The exercise has participants drawn from 32 countries in Africa and European Navies and
local and international maritime stakeholders as well as other organisations which
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central
African States (ECCAS), International Maritime Organisation (IMO), International Police
(INTERPOL) and the United Nations on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Ex ‘OBANGAME EXPRESS 2021’ seeks to ensure practical implementation of some laid down
inter-agency procedure towards managing maritime security threats and incidents,
plan and safely conduct maritime security/safety operations, Integrate and employ air
in the execution of maritime operations, demonstrate, exercise and assess effective
employment of the Rule of Law during maritime operations, exercise and assess partner
nation’s capacity to conduct operational planning, among others.
Present at the opening ceremony were the US Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency (HE)
Stephanie Sullivan, Commander US Naval Forces Europe and Africa, Admiral Robert P Burke,
Service Chiefs, Senior Officers, Representatives of the 32 participating countries,
and international maritime stakeholders, among others.