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NEWS | March 19, 2019

MOC Brings Enhanced Regional Capabilities

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kyle Stecker

Nigerian Navy sailors working in the maritime operations center (MOC) finished another day of scenarios at the Regional Maritime Awareness Capability Center (RMACC) in Lagos as part of exercise Obangame Express 2019. The RMACC MOC’s responsibility during the exercise can be summed up in two steps: gather information, pass it to the right people.
“This MOC is one of three regional MOCs operating in Nigeria during this exercise,” said David Rollo, the Africa maritime domain awareness planner for U.S Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S.6th Fleet. “Those regional centers have the role of collecting information from an operation zone that includes Nigeria, Togo and Benin.”
This day events focused on illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing and featured cooperation from military members from Morocco, Benin and Senegal.
As part of a bigger information chain, the RMACC MOC uses several systems and satellites working together to identify vessels in a predetermined operational area.
“Once a vessel is identified, MOC operators cross check the gathered information against a list of approved fishing vessels, said Rollo. “If a discrepancy is found, the MOC passes that information up to the appropriate authorities, usually the command MOC at Nigeria’s Western Naval Command. That authority then coordinates with other MOCs in Benin and Togo to visit and search the vessel.”
Rollo noted that cooperation with MOCs in other countries is one of the main focuses of Obangame Express.
The RMACC MOC, along with the two other regional Nigerian MOCs, have completed scenarios involving drug trafficking and piracy with several more scenarios planned before the exercise concludes later this week.
Obangame Express, now in its ninth year, is one of three U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa- facilitated regional exercises. The exercise is part of a comprehensive strategy by CNE-CNA/C6F and AFRICOM to provide collaborative opportunities among African forces and international partners to address maritime security concerns.
The exercise features participation from 33 nations including Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).