By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
The U.S. Coast Guard, Ghana Navy and Air Force, and Togolese Navy conducted joint maritime law enforcement operations as part of Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) 2019 in the Gulf of Guinea, June 10-30, 2019.
AMPLEP is a U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet-facilitated initiative that aims to enhance the maritime enforcement capabilities of African partners in order to improve management and security of the maritime domain. A safe and secure maritime environment is necessary for local economies to flourish and is essential to the overall quality of life for a country’s citizens.
“These operations enable our partners to improve maritime security along their coastlines, territorial seas, and exclusive economic zones,” said Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. “Maritime security is critical for coastal nations as seaborne trade is the lifeblood of global trade. When maritime trade freely sails across the seas, economic development and opportunities for prosperity are possible.”
Members of U.S. Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) South and a P-8A assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 partnered with the Ghana Navy for the first half of the second operational phase of AMLEP. U.S. Coast Guardsmen and Ghanaian Sailors were paired to form teams to execute boardings of vessels suspected of engaging in illicit activity and enforce Nigerian laws and regulations, and the P-8A and a Diamond DA42 from the Ghana Air Force conducted maritime air patrols.
“It was a fantastic experience to operate with Ghana’s air Force and Navy,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Seligman, officer in charge of the VP-9 detachment. “We were able to seamlessly integrate with our Ghanaian partners right from the start. These flights were extremely rewarding and served to enhance our cooperation in the region.”
During the second half of the operational phase, TACLET South members and the Togolese Navy teamed up to execute boardings of vessels in Togo’s waters suspected of conducting illegal activities and to enforce Togolese laws and regulations. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard continue to work together in the African theater.
“The integration of the Coast Guard Tactical Law Enforcement Team and Navy P-8A with our partner nations’ navies, coast guards, and air forces strengthens our capabilities as a joint force and bolsters the security and stability in the Gulf of Guinea,” said Foggo.
A strong maritime presence is critical to ensuring local fisheries are protected and commercial shipping lanes stay open to sustain global commerce. The operational phases of the AMLEP program reinforce the skill sets developed as part of the annual Africa Partnership Station exercises in a real-world operation and improves the detection, boarding, and law enforcement activities that are necessary for maritime security.
“This type of capacity building remains paramount as we help our African partners counter illicit trafficking of drugs, arms, and persons in the region,” said Foggo. “These efforts help Gulf of Guinea nations protect their own resources and use these resources for their prosperity and their people.”
The AMLEP end goal is for an African partner nation to be able to conduct law enforcement operations independently of U.S. efforts and effectively address ever-changing maritime threats including illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, illicit trafficking, and piracy.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered 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.