GULF OF GUINEA: NIGERIAN, SPANISH NAVIES COLLABORATE ON CAPACITY IMPROVEMENT

Four Nigerian Navy Ships are to collaborate with the Spanish Navy War Ship (SNS) Furor, to conduct a two-day sea exercise to develop capacity toward improving protection within the Gulf of Guinea. The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, said this to newsmen during the SNS Furor’s visit to the command on Tuesday. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exercise will hold on April 7 and April 8. Gbassa said the visit by SNS would further consolidate the bilateral relations between the two countries, as well as improve capacity on the side of the Nigerian Navy. “As part of our naval responsibilities, navies all over the world as a universal service, always collaborate and cooperate in areas of maritime operations. “Your port visit to Lagos is in line with that function of the navy and it is our pleasure to have you around. “The exercise we plan to conduct together will go a long way toward improving  our capacity in monitoring our maritime environment and further cementing our relations,” he said.

The FOC said that the Nigerian Navy and the Spanish Navy have had relationship that dates  back to  a while. “Over the last two years, this is the fourth SNS that is visiting Nigeria and at each of their visits, we conducted exercises together as regards the protection of the Gulf of Guinea. “Their experience must have informed and encouraged your port call, so we intend to build on your visit to go further into other areas of training. “That will include areas where we will have joint training and exchange programmes at the higher level that will contribute to all our efforts to secure not just our waters but indeed the Gulf of Guinea,” Gbassa said. Mendoza, said that collaborating with the Nigerian Navy which was the biggest navy within the Gulf of Guinea would yield profitable results in terms of improving security. Mendoza said that Spanish vessels usually do not  sail around the Gulf,  therefore, the collaboration would provide a wonderful opportunity for such experiences and provide opportunity to work with the Nigerian Navy as well. “As brothers at sea, we are trying to organise a two- day exercise together to continue to strengthen our joint capacity for the future,” he said. The commander also appreciated the Western Naval Command for the proximity they had shown to SNS Furor and her crew. “They have attended to our requests in spite of the COVID-19 restrictions which often affect crew members. “We have spent one month and 15  days at sea and the command has offered us the use of  their facilities at the naval base which have been beneficial to my crew. “We are thankful for this gesture,” Mendoza said.

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