USNS Navy Expeditionary Sea Base MSC USMC

US Seabase Completes Anti-Piracy Trials Off Nigeria

John Konrad
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August 16, 2021

While most of the Pentagon is focused on evacuating Afghanistan, the US Navy’s Expeditionary Sea-Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams – the first US ship permanently assigned to West Africa – completed a maritime security and anti-piracy exercise with the Nigerian Navy, the Spanish Navy, and members of Ghana’s Special Boat Squadron last week.

“We’re here to train and work with the Nigerian Navy on anti-piracy, tactics, techniques, and procedures,” Hershel “Woody” Williams Captain Chad Graham said. “Collaborative operations like this offer invaluable experience for my crew in the present, but they also allow us to be more efficient and capable in future operations with our partners in the region.”

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The Gulf Of Guinea is a known hotspot for piracy and cargo theft and West African loses fish worth almost $2 billion in gross revenue, to illegal activities which removes vast seafood protein from the region.

“The exercises we conducted this week show our commitment to the mutual goal of countering maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea, and how we can work together to achieve it,” Graham said.

USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. The U.S. shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent because these waters are critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets.

The Expeditionary Sea-Base ship class is a highly flexible platform that may be used across a broad range of military operations. Acting as a mobile sea base, they are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to support missions assigned.

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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. According to Bloomberg, U.S. investments and donations to the Nigerian military are worth more than $559 million, part of which is the naval coast guard transfers renamed NNS Okpabana and NNS Thunder.

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