Fighting Maritime Crime in Gulf of Guinea
On 28 October 2019, the French Navy launched Grand African NEMO, a 10-day multilateral cooperation initiative aimed at preventing and fighting criminality at sea in the Gulf of Guinea. The exercise, which included the participation of navies and other maritime sector actors from 18 of 19 coastal countries of the region and nine European states, comprised 40 simulation activities.
Grand African NEMO is a remarkable demonstration of naval power and know-how, with a total of 32 vessels at sea and seven aircraft, including two dedicated to sea surveillance in 2019, according to the French Navy expert. Yet this impressive arsenal didn’t deter criminals who kidnapped crew members on vessels in Benin and Togo in the same week in November 2019 that the exercise was carried out. Involving coastal communities that are not yet part of these exercises could improve their impact.