The Brazilian Navy (MB) was in the Gulf of Guinea region to participate in the Obangame Express 2018 multinational exercise. The exercise aims to train African navies in the surveillance of the Gulf of Guinea and increase the maritime security of the area, extend the fight to frequent crimes such as piracy, drug trafficking and human trafficking, armed robbery and illegal fishing.
Since 2010, the Obangame Express has been held every year under the sponsorship of the US Naval Forces. UU in Africa, naval component of the Africa Command of the United States. The 2018 edition was held from March 21 to 29 on the African coast and was attended by 31 countries, among which were Germany, Belgium, the United States, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The exercise whose name means “union” in the dialect of the African Fang tribe, native of the continental region of Equatorial Guinea, also aims to practice interoperability between the navies and participating agencies.
According to the MB Frigate Captain Carlos Eduardo Fiorino Carneiro, in charge of the Surface Media Section of the Naval Operations Command (ComOpNav), the MB contributed a total of 109 soldiers to the exercise and was in charge of the operations area A, covering Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. “We had three officers who participated in the Maritime Operations Center (COM) in Angola, from where they initiated, coordinated and evaluated all the events in Area A; an officer who was in the Exercise Control Group, in Gabon, who participated as liaison officer with the US Navy. UU; and a team from the Almirante Marques de Leão Training Center, embarked on the Ocean Patrol Ship (NaPaOc) Amazonas, to evaluate in real time the procedures of the African navies “, Dialogue on Cap. of Frag. Fiorino
For MB Captain Charles Alan da Silva, in charge of ComOpNav’s Special Operations Division, the participation of the MB was essential to ensure interoperability with the armed forces of friendly countries. “Armed forces around the world are increasingly using a combined form to defend the common interests of friendly countries, especially in the fight against transnational crimes. The combined use of multinational media and the exchange of procedures, tactics and experiences, as happened in the Obangame Express 2018, generate more efficiency in the use of the forces involved, “said Cap. of Nav. Alan.
According to Chap. of Frag. Fiorino, thanks to the Obangame Express, the African military were able to observe the material used by the boarding teams and the techniques used when they were shipped, as well as contributing to improve the enforcement capacity of international maritime legislation. “It is a way to expand the participation of the signatory countries of the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, associated with the implementation of a regional strategy for maritime security in Central and Western Africa, and to strengthen the alliance between the 20 countries that signed the code”, he claimed.
It is the fifth time that the MB participates in the Obangame Express and is represented by the NaPaOc Amazonas. “Because it was an oceanic patrol vessel, it was able to move to the Gulf of Guinea in a quicker and cheaper way than a large vessel. Its dimensions made it ideal for this type of event, since there were several boarding exercises in which the Brazilian ship participated as a “target”, while simulating to be a pirate ship, “explained Cap. of Frag. Fiorino
The officer explained that, to coordinate operations within such a complex tactical scenario, specific systems were used such as SeaVision, a real-time tracking system for units that are at sea, which receives information from the HipChat System team, a virtual chat room through which all the information passed during the project’s execution stage. “[That] made possible the communication with all maritime operation centers and was fundamental for the evolution of the exercises,” revealed Cap. of Frag. Fiorino “Each scenario of the exercise began with planned publications on the HipChat. The Angolan military of the COM received messages written by the representatives of each navy during planning meetings and undertook the tasks they considered appropriate in terms of the content they had received, so that the situation would evolve gradually. ”
During the exercise information was transmitted so that the ‘contact’ (white vessel) left the condition of ‘unknown’ to that of ‘suspect’ and lead to a real approach. Within that context, the Brazilian team in the COM was in charge of coordinating, evaluating and examining the maneuvers of its military, with daily reports after the end of the scenarios, “explained Cap. of Frag. Fiorino
It is the second participation of the officer in the Obangame Express exercise. For him, the exercise is an excellent training opportunity for the military involved, and an opportunity to coexist with military personnel of other nationalities. “The main point of difficulty was to perform command and control satisfactorily, that is, to coordinate the event within our area of responsibility so that all operations are carried out efficiently, to achieve the mission’s objective,” he said.
The hallmark of the 2018 edition, according to Cap. of Frag. Fiorino, was the completion of the Senior Leaders Symposium, which took place between March 26 and 28. The event, coordinated by the Naval War College of the US Navy. In the United States, it featured conferences, analysis panels and debates on common maritime challenges and opportunities to improve international maritime security.
Source: Dialogo Americas