USS HWW visits Nigeria, conducts exercise with Nigerian Navy

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As part of  efforts by the United States (U.S) Navy  to strengthen  bilateral ties with  the Nigerian Navy (NN), the U.S. ship, USS HWW, is currently on a visit  to Nigeria.

The USS HWW berthed  on the shores of the country on Wednesday to further strengthen bilateral  relations between both navies through  exchange of knowledge.

Commodore LivingStone Izu, the Commanding  Operation Officer (COO) of  the Western Naval Command,  said that part of the combined exercise to be conducted  by both navies includes rig protection exercise in which  six  Nigerian ships would be participating.

“This is a combined exercise that we are having with the US Navy  ship, USS HWW. The exercise is going to  further strengthen  diplomatic relations that the US and Nigeria have  had over the years,” he said.

He said that the rig protection exercise was key because of the several assets like oil and that the protection of such assets are critical to the economic growth of the country.

“The exercise is a very critical to our maritime security because we have several assets in our maritime environment ,one of those assets is oil.

“So, the protection of those assets is very critical to our economic well-being as a nation.So, we are going to demonstrate that capacity and  the U.S. Navy and the Nigerian Navy will  be deployed there ,” he said.

The COO said that the joint exercise would also boost the confidence of the NN officers deployed for the exercise.

“This exercise in itself is going to test some of those assumptions that we have had in terms  of our planning for maritime security.

“And the fact that the men can be  trained together will  enhance their confidence in the deployment of our vessels at sea,” he said.

Izu reacting to the visit during COVID-19 period said that the maritime environment is critical to the economy, so, a total lockdown would not be possible.

“The maritime environment is very critical to the economy ,even when we had the shortdown, there is still the need to promote trade and economic activities.

“So,  it is very important that the sea lanes of communication, our sea roads are kept open so that economic activities can still thrive.

“And so,  the maritime activities within this period will still need to continue despite  the lockdown,” he said.

Other exercises that would be embarked upon by the joint navies  are : Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), Communication.

The six ships that will participate in the exercises are: NNS PROSPERITY, NNS OKPBANA, NNS OSUN, NNS EKULU, NNS OSE and NNS NGURU.

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