MPC Concludes Plans For Exercise Grand African Nemo 2023.

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The Main Planning Conference (MPC) for Exercise Grand African Nemo 2023 was held from June 26 to June 28, bringing together representatives from the Yaoundé Architecture and the 19 navies bordering the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), along with numerous regional, European, and international partners.

The conference, held in Châtenay-en-France, marked a significant step in planning the exercise aimed at addressing maritime safety challenges in the region.

The conference began with warm words of welcome from Rear Admiral d’Hébrail, Deputy Commander of the Atlantic Maritime Zone (ACZM), and Captain Bell Bell, Head of Information and Communications at the Yaoundé Interregional Coordination Centre (CIC).

Following the opening remarks, the navies, and partners were divided into working groups to focus on the meticulous planning of Exercise Grand African Nemo 2023. The main objective was to develop scenarios that closely aligned with the concerns of the riparian states and the prevailing maritime safety challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.

After two productive days of intensive work and insightful discussions, the participants finalized the themes for the exercise. The selected themes will encompass a wide range of issues, including combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing), addressing piracy, drug trafficking, illicit trafficking, pollution control, and legal proceedings. This multi-faceted approach will enable comprehensive training and preparedness to tackle various maritime security threats.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to convene, the conference participants also examined a recent case of piracy that occurred earlier this year aboard the Danish tanker Monjasa Reformer in Congolese waters. This practical case study provided valuable insights for enhancing anti-piracy measures and improving response strategies.

Exercise Grand African Nemo 2023 is scheduled to take place in the eastern Gulf of Guinea from October 10 to October 15, 2023.

About Grand African Nemo

Grand African Nemo is an internationally coordinated operational cooperation exercise that aims to foster the development and strengthening of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, supporting the Yaoundé Process. Co-organized by the Yaoundé Architecture and the French Navy, this significant annual regional exercise will involve the participation of countries in the Gulf of Guinea region, as well as allied navies.

France, as a key partner resulting from the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol, plays a leading role in co-piloting this ambitious exercise. The country’s involvement reflects its commitment to improving maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea and supporting its African partners.

The Gulf of Guinea: A Key Maritime Region

Stretching over 5,707 kilometers of West African coastline, from Senegal to Angola, the Gulf of Guinea holds strategic importance as a key maritime region. Situated at the crossroads of major shipping routes, the area is rich in valuable natural resources, including oil, fish, and minerals, making it susceptible to covetousness and the development of illicit activities.

The African Nemo Exercises

Since the Yaoundé summit in 2013, the French Navy has been organizing joint African Nemo patrols three to four times a year, in collaboration with the Yaoundé Architecture and the navies bordering the Gulf of Guinea.

In addition to these regular patrols, a major annual exercise, Grand African Nemo, brings together a larger number of units and operational centers. These exercises, which alternate between different areas of the Gulf of Guinea, share a common objective: to enhance the capacity of neighboring and partner navies to cooperate and act jointly as part of government action at sea, aligned with the European concept of Coordinated Maritime Presence (CMP).