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NEWS | Nov. 12, 2021

NAVAF Joins Allies, Partners for Exercise Grand African NEMO

By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs

Sailors assigned to U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) joined NATO Allies and partners for the French-led, Congolese hosted exercise Grand African Navy Exercise for Maritime Operations (NEMO) 2021 in Pointe-Noire, Congo, Nov. 2-7, 2021.

More than 40 ships and aircraft from 29 nations participated in the week-long exercise, which included scenarios on combatting illegal fishing, piracy, drug trafficking, and pollution, as well as rescue at sea.

Additionally, Rear Adm. Benjamin Reynolds, Director of Maritime Headquarters, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Mark Schapiro, NAVAF Political Advisor, attended the Chief of Navy Symposium and VIP day following the conclusion of exercise Grand African Nemo.

“It is an honor to be here to strengthen our relationships with our partners and Allies,” said Reynolds. “I always appreciate opportunities to meet face-to-face with leadership. These meetings and exercises provide us the ability to learn from each other and to develop solutions to maritime security challenges together.”

The French Navy conducts three to four regional naval exercises annually as part of the African NEMO exercise series, which culminates in the major annual exercise Grand African NEMO. Starting in 2013, the exercise series trains on the collective efforts to establish maritime security and stability in the Gulf of Guinea.

Grand African NEMO 2021 participants included Angola, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Italy, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Sao-Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Togo, United Kingdom, and the United States.

“Our greatest strength is our friendships and partnerships, which we are here to deepen and broaden,” said Schapiro. “We are here because a multilateral approach is the only way to address transnational challenges in the maritime domain.  We are grateful for French leadership and experience both in Grand African Nemo and in so many other places around the world.  And we have enjoyed listening and learning from the Congolese, the Gabonese, the San Tomeans and others who have joined us here, as part of our enduring commitment to their sovereignty and security.”

The U.S. Navy routinely trains with allied and partner nations in order to enhance maneuverability capabilities and interoperability by establishing communication and safety standards that strengthen regional maritime security.

U.S. Sixth 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.