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Nigerian Navy welcomes visiting French Helicopter Landing Dock Tonnerre ahead of joint GoG security exercise

The Nigerian Navy on Monday welcomed the French Navy  Helicopter Landing Dock Tonnerre and the ship’s company accompanied by the France Defense Attaché to Nigeria, Col. Guillaume Dujon.

Commanding Officer of the Ship, Capt. Gauthier Guillaumat also had the company of the French Navy Attaché, Cdr. William Tostem, and Commanding Officer  assistant, Lt Manon de Dianous , among other members.

Paying a courtesy visit to the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral YB Wambai, Col. Dujon appreciated the opportunity of the visit, after according to him, an earlier symposium held in Paris with the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo.

“I think it is a good opportunity to follow up with the interesting and fruitful meeting that we had recently in Paris with the Chief of Naval Staff on the Gulf of Guinea,” Col. Dujon said.

Speaking also, Capt. Guillaumat said the visiting ship’s company looked forward to the planned exercises for more strategic cooperation in further securing the Gulf of Guinea against piracy and other criminalities at sea.


L-R: France Defence Attache to Nigeria, Col. Guillaume Dujon, Commanding Officer of the Ship, Capt. Gauthier Guillaumat , and French Navy Attache, Cdr. William Tostem.


He said: “Thank you for your welcome here, as the seapower comes for a port visit, especially in a country we do not visit often. We are here with the big ship with many troops on board, because France wants to be involved in this area of very critical and strategic area of the world. We left a month and half ago. There is no bother between French coast and Nigerian coast, just water. So, we are here for partnership, considering the threat of piracy and drug trafficking.  The partnership is important, especially with important navy like the Nigerian Navy.

“We are interested in sharing experiences and we will be having excises with your navy with helicopters, special forces, search and rescue excises. We are glad to be here and hope to go on with the partnership and cooperation, and train with you as much as possible.”

Welcoming his guests, Admiral Wambai noted that countries have been collaborating and made references to some instances of shared interest.

Wambai said: “By and large, Nigeria and France have been collaborating. One of our active ships, NNS LANA, just came in from France. Before now, the best ships we had were from France. Apart from training exchanges that we have had, the first set of divers that we had were trained in France in the early 90s.

“So, between the navies, we have worked and shared the ideals with project in keeping the sea in the Gulf of Guinea very safe. Not long ago, we just finished the Grand Africa Navy Exercise for Maritime Operation (NEMO), which is the French child. In partnership with international partners, we have been successful and we look forward to more. For the ship Tonnerre coming in today, we welcome you.

“We have been hosting French Navy Ships and we are going to host many more. This shows how we hold you as partners. Keeping the sea safe cannot be done by one person and we know that no one country has monopoly of knowledge and ideas. That is why we are meeting today and committing to the exercise for tomorrow.

“Nigeria just acquired a Landing Ship Transport to carry out amphibious exercises. This is the first proper exercise she will carry out. Earlier in the year, she was in Guinea Bissau to deliver some equipment. Now, she is going to carry the amphibious aspect, which we will be doing with the Tonnerre. This will keep building the efficiency level of our men as we continue to carry out our role as designated.”

Grand African NEMO is a multinational maritime security exercise aims at ensuring security of the waterways, tackling marine environment pollution, fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing as well as drug trafficking, and rescue exercises at sea.


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