DEFENCEWEB | photos by EUROPEAN UNION
Naval leaders from the European Union and Nigeria met to pledge a strong partnership to combat threats at sea.
Held on April 7, 2022, the first-ever Joint Event on Strengthening Nigeria-EU Cooperation on Maritime Security took place at the Nigerian Navy’s Western Naval Command in Lagos. It included port calls from the Italian Navy frigate ITN Luigi Rizzo and the Spanish Navy offshore patrol vessel ESPS Serviola. The Nigerian Navy, the EU Delegation to Nigeria and EU Member States operating under the EU Coordinated Maritime Presences initiative organized the high-level event. It included two days of joint training and capacity demonstration events.
“The security partnership goes beyond Africa, embracing the European Union and other key international players geographically outside the Gulf of Guinea because the Gulf of Guinea is of global importance as a crucial maritime route,” said Rear Adm. Saidu Garba, Nigeria’s chief of Policy and Plans, Naval Headquarters.
The EU said that relations have deepened between the partners in recent years through enhanced operational cooperation, joint exercises, training and increased information-sharing. The EU praised Nigeria’s leadership role in the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum on Shared Awareness and Deconfliction and regional initiatives such as the YARIS information-sharing platform.
“It is good that we coordinate internally and engage strategically with the Nigerian Navy,” said EU Senior Coordinator for the Gulf of Guinea Nicolas Berlanga. “Because freedom of navigation and investment of economic activities is also our freedom.”
More than 1,500 tankers, cargo ships and fishing vessels navigate the waters of the Gulf of Guinea each day. The ships have origins and destinations that span the globe, making intercontinental coordination among security professionals and information-sharing important.
“Working together is sine qua non in the zeal to defend the seas by enhanced maritime security and safety needed to promote international trade, protect the environment and guarantee use of the sea for legitimate businesses,” said Rear Adm. Yakubu Wambai, flag officer commanding Nigeria’s Western Naval Command.