French navy drills with West Africans to battle Gulf of Guinea thuggery

PARIS – France and 14 West African nations recently held the first Grand African NEMO (Navy Exercise for Maritime Operations) drill, a week-long training session that is slated to become an annual event.

Led by the French Mistral helicopter carrier, equipped for the occasion with just one Alouette 3 helicopter, and the frigate Ventose, other ships in the fleet included a 500-ton Cameroonian patrol boat, a Nigerian frigate, Gambia’s Kunta Kinteh patrol boat with a crew of 20, and Benin’s FBP98 Mk1-class P110 Ouémé patrol vessel.

The 14 African navies had been working on various scenarios for many months, Captain Vincent Sébastien, commander of the Mistral, told Defense News. “They were particularly keen to work on combatting illegal fishing,” he said. They finally settled on 27…

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