Navy flags off joint maneuver with France to check piracy

(Last Updated On: October 10, 2023)By Philip Nwosu and Bolaji Okunola
The Nigerian Navy has flagged off combined naval maneuver with France and other countries within the West African sub-region, to foster the development and strengthening of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Flagging off the exercise, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, said the manoeuvre, which is named “Exercise Crocodile Lift And Grand African Nemo”, came in response to several security breaches in the Gulf of Guinea, which poses serious challenges to Nigeria’s well-being.
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Admiral Ogalla said: “The more disturbing is that most of the criminal activities the Nigerian Navy had to grapple with in the maritime domain are targeted at the economic lifeline of the nation, through crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and other nefarious acts.”
He said a comprehensive approach involving national and international collaboration is continually required to mitigate the impact of the myriad of maritime threats confronting the Gulf of Guinea countries. 
Admiral Ogalla said the sustenance of combined exercises aimed at ensuring the security of the Gulf of Guinea has remained a great priority for the Nigerian Navy. He said that Exercises Crocodile Lift And Grand African Nemo  undeniably had become annual events and were well thought out international exercises involving the Nigerian Navy, noting that, “these exercises have further enhanced effective collaboration against maritime insecurity, such as crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering, piracy, sea robbery, hostage taking as well as illegal unreported and unregulated fishing.” $(document).ready(function(){(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({})});
The naval chief said the sustenance of the exercises has enhanced maritime security operations in the Gulf of Guinea for national prosperity of member states, noting that the seamless coordination in the case of MONJASA REFORMER on March 27, 2023, involving a Nigerian Navy Ship and French Navy Ship, was a good reference to the essence of the exercises.

Earlier, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Muhammad Abdullahi, said Exercise Crocodile Lift 2023 was designed around a fictitious scenario concerning piracy and hostage taking.
He described the Exercise Crocodile Lift 2023, which is in its second edition, as an amphibious exercise initiated by the French Navy, aimed at sharing experiences with the Nigerian Navy as well as practicing and testing both navies’ practical skills and preparedness of personnel to tackle maritime threats like piracy and kidnapping within the Gulf of Guinea.
He said the exercise was also aimed at testing the capacity of Nigeria’s maritime operations centre, to coordinate as well as share information and intelligence with allied partners in a combined operation setting, adding that Exercise Crocodile Lift 2023 is a single fictitious scenario exercise that would be conducted by TG 23.1, in conjunction with the French Warship FNS MISTRAL in four phases, namely preparatory phase, movement, execution and termination phase in a hostage rescue scenario.
He said: “The exercise will be activated, today,  October 9, 2023, and it will terminate on October 10, 2023, which would mark the commencement of Exercise Grand African Nemo, an annual exercise, co-organised by France, in collaboration with some West African countries like the Togolese Republic, Benin Republic and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This exercise is aimed at contributing to the freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Guinea by strengthening the coordination of effort against maritime insecurity. This year’s exercise will be merged with the amphibious Exercise Crocodile Lift that is aimed at enhancing the operational readiness of the Nigerian Navy in maritime security operations. $(document).ready(function(){(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({})});
“This year’s exercise is aimed at creating a safe and secure maritime environment for shipping and other economic activities to thrive through the prevention of piracy, sea robbery, crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and other forms of criminalities within Western Naval Command Area of Responsibility. This is in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff’s vision and mission statements, which is aimed at harnessing the full benefits of Nigeria’s maritime environment for the country’s economic growth.”
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