The OPV “AUDAZ” will take part -28 JAN to 3 FEB- in the maritime security OE23 exercise (Obangame Express), in its 12th edition with Nigeria as the host country.
Spain has become one of the most prominent participants in this exercise; an evidence of its commitment to security and stability in the region.
OE23 is an annual combined naval exercise conducted by the US-NAVAF (United States Naval Forces Africa), focused on the Gulf of Guinea as an area of strategic interest. Thirty nations will participate this year. The exercise promotes international cooperation and interoperability among all participants to help improve maritime security in the region. OE 23 directly supports the Yaoundé Architecture in the fight against illegal activities and the protection of maritime interests in the Gulf of Guinea.
During the exercise, the OVP 'Audaz', included in the Maritime Operational Command (MOC) under the Operations Command (MOPS, in Spanish), will partake in different maritime security scenarios with the navies and operations centres from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria. Training in maritime surveillance, fighting against illegal fishing, interdiction of weapons and narcotics, fighting against piracy, and freeing of hijacked vessels is planned.
Spain is also providing two liaison officers at the MMCC (Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre) in Benin (Cotonou) and Ghana (Accra). All of this reinforces Spain's commitment to the region, supports coastal countries in improving their maritime capabilities, strengthens regional maritime security structures, and cooperates definitively with friendly and allied countries.
Coordinated Maritime Presences-CMP
The 'Audaz' is currently immersed in its expeditionary deployment along the West African coast and the Gulf of Guinea, within the framework of the Coordinated Maritime Presences of the European Union (CMP-EU). Over the coming months, it is expected to visit more than 10 African countries and cover more than 20,000 nautical miles in both the northern and southern hemispheres.
The CMP-EU initiative is proving to be an effective instrument for improving maritime security in the area and advancing cooperation between the EU and West and Central African states.
The aim of this mechanism in the region is to ensure a permanent maritime presence and readiness, to promote international maritime cooperation and to provide enhanced European operational capacity. During OE 23, it should be noted that up to four European nations will be present with their corresponding vessels and aircraft within the framework of the CMP-EU.
The 'Audaz' OPV is the first of the two ships that make up the extension to the 1st series of four OPVs that Spain’s Navantia built for the Spanish Navy. It was delivered on 26 JUL 2018 and is based in Cartagena, Spain.
Its current staff is 77 people - 69 men and 8 women. Among them is an Operational Security Spanish Navy Infantry (Spanish, TEAR), as well as a military reinforcement for specific capabilities. It is commanded by Lieutenant Commander, Marcos de Sousa Fuchs.