Obangame Express (OE22), the largest multinational maritime exercise in West Africa, will kick off its 11th year with 32 participating nations at an opening ceremony in Dakar, Senegal, Mar. 11, 2022.
Sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), OE22 is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness (MDA), information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of participating nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.
AFRICOM assists African partner nations’ efforts to protect the maritime economy in order to ensure continued, sustainable use of maritime resources and enable the security of maritime trade.
OE 22, one of three U.S. Naval Forces Africa-facilitated regional exercises, is part of a comprehensive strategy by NAVAF-SIXTHFLT and AFRICOM to provide collaborative opportunities for African forces and international partners to address maritime security concerns.
“Obangame Express reinforces regional security partnerships and improves our joint capacity to ensure safety and security in Africa,” said a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Dakar. “The successful execution of part of this exercise in Senegal reflects the strength of our military-to-military ties and our overall bilateral relationship.”
The exercise will be conducted in multiple areas at sea and ashore. At-sea operations will be conducted throughout the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. This year’s exercise will be hosted by Senegal, in its capital city of Dakar.
Numerous Maritime Operations Centers will participate ashore from across the Gulf of Guinea and West Africa, along with several international organizations. Training opportunities during OE22 include boarding techniques, search and rescue operations, medical casualty response, radio communication, and information management techniques.
Last year, Ghana hosted Obangame Express 21. “Maritime security is critical to West Africa’s stability and regional economic prosperity,” said Stephanie S. Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Ghana. “The United States is a proud security partner in West Africa. Exercises like this help us learn together – so that we can work better together – to ensure security in the Gulf of Guinea.”
The 32 nations scheduled to participate in OE22 include Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, and the United States. Also participating will be the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.