Royal Canadian Navy deploys to the West Coast of Africa
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Kingston and Shawinigan, both Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs), are set to arrive in West Africa on 23 February. The ships departed from Halifax in January 2019 and have now completed their trans-Atlantic crossing, arriving in the Gulf of Guinea region of West Africa to conduct Operation PROJECTION West Africa.
Their deployment will include engagements with West African nations to build partner capacity, promote maritime security, and foster relationships in the Gulf of Guinea region by conducting stakeholder engagements and community relations activities.
While deployed, HMCS Kingston and Shawinigan, a detachment of personnel from the Naval Tactical Operations Group (NTOG), and a Maritime Operations Center (MOC) mentorship team will also participate in OBANGAME EXPRESS 2019 (OE19) from 9 to 22 March, 2019. Led by U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF), OE19 is designed to improve cooperation among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. The NTOG will work with regional partners to build partner capacity for maritime interdiction operations.
As well, from 31 March to 4 April, 2019, the ships will participate in PHOENIX EXPRESS (PE19), along with a MOC mentorship team. The engagement is designed to improve regional cooperation, increase maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities in order to enhance efforts to promote safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea.
“This is the third consecutive year that the Royal Canadian Navy has deployed to West Africa and we will continue to build on the successes of our previous deployments. Operating at sea and ashore, our sailors will be supporting Canadian national interests in the region. They will work with global partners to promote regional stability, build capacity amongst our African partners and continue to enhance the relationships we have developed over the past three years. This will be an exceptional experience for our sailors as they bring a bit of Canada to our friends on the other side of the Atlantic.”
— Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, Maritime Component Commander
Port visits by HMCS Kingston and Shawinigan during this West Africa deployment aim to improve cooperation among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. They will include interactions with the navies of our African partners as well as stakeholder engagement and community relations activities. The port visits are scheduled to include:
- Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire;
- Cotonou, Benin;
- Lome, Togo;
- Takoradi, Ghana; and
- Dakar, Senegal.
The NTOG includes specially trained teams prepared to confront a variety of threats in high-risk maritime environments. They deploy on board Halifax-class frigates and Kingston-class maritime coastal defence vessels and can also deploy ashore on operations. Teams are prepared for inspections and searches for illegal cargo but are also trained in hand-to-hand combat, improvised explosive device identification, close quarters fighting, and tactical shooting.
OE19 will take place in the Gulf of Guinea and involves numerous African partner nations and additional forces including Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Denmark, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
PE19 will take place in the western Mediterranean Sea, to include territorial waters of North African nations. It will test North African, European, and United States maritime forces' abilities to respond to irregular migration and combat illicit trafficking and the movement of illegal goods and materials. Additionally, participating forces will work together to practice search and rescue procedures in response to vessels in distress. Nations scheduled to participate in PE 19 include Algeria, Canada, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia and the United States.