By Photojournalist Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Lally
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Thetis (WMEC 910) arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, for a scheduled port visit in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations, March 20, 2019.
Thetis is the first USCGC to operate in the Africa maritime since 2011 and is supporting exercise Obangame Express 2019 (OE19) during its three-month stint in theater. The port visit to Lagos reinforces the strengthening ties between the United States and Nigeria.
“My crew and I are looking forward to working with our Nigerian Navy counterparts,” said Cmdr. Randall Chong, Thetis’ commanding officer. “As we continue to build and strengthen our relationship with them, we will conduct joint exercises, sharing best practices to improve overall coordination with our allies and foreign military partners.”
Thetis hosted a reception for OE19 aboard the ship, March 21. Members of the crew were also able to visit the U.S. Consulate in Lagos during their visit.
“It is our responsibility to secure our maritime domains by working together to ensure our maritime commerce industries are safe and secure so our economies can prosper,” said Chong.
While in theater, Thetis is conducting training with our African partners on maritime law enforcement to include boarding tactics and techniques to assist them in combatting illegal fishing, trafficing of humans and narcotics, maritime piracy, and environmental pollution.
OE19 is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to enhance the collective capabilities of Gulf of Guinea and West African nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.
Thetis is homeported in Key West, Florida, and is a 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter that specializes in maritime law enforcement operations, specifically counter-narcotics and alien migrant smuggling, and search and rescue operations.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquarted in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, security and stability in Europe and Africa.