GULF OF GUINEA THEATER FOR INTERNATIONAL EXPANSIONIST AGENDA
The opening of the operational theater of the Gulf of Guinea was decided by the Italian political authority on the basis of proven needs for the prevention and contrast of maritime piracy, which can also be verified on open sources in relation to the growing trend of the level of danger in the area and related statistics of maritime piracy attacks. (Italians consider that Nigeria is, after South Africa, the second destination market for Italian goods in this macro-region). On the basis of this information, the General Command of the Port Authorities, as a competent national authority, proposed to the Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee for Transport Security (COCIST), the adoption of specific Maritime Security measures (so-called MARSEC) for the flag merchant ships operating in West African waters, particularly affected by security incidents, with potential damage to the safety of the crews, therefore based on proven needs for the prevention and contrast of maritime piracy, strongly attentive by the national ship owning and energy industry with which the Navy maintains close relations due to its specific institutional tasks as a provider of maritime safety on the high seas, the need for the Navy's intervention in the Gulf of Guinea has emerged at a political level.
After the boarding of the Singaporean-flagged container ship MAERSK CADIZ by an unknown number of attackers, while underway off West African on Saturday, December 12, 2020, and another Singaporean-flagged container ship MV MAERSK CARDIFF was reportedly approached by a small vessel, while 150 nautical miles South West Bonny, Nigeria on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.
On the basis of this development, DENMARK appointed Danish Special Representative for Maritime Security in the Gulf of Guinea, Ambassador JENS-OTTO HURSLUND to garner broad support for anti-piracy operation as mandated by the UNCLOS convention. These are intentions without any expansionist agenda.
On January 23, 2021, a Liberian flagged container ship MV MOZART was boarded approximately 98 nm of SAO TOME and about 353.81 nm of Nigeria outside the Economic Exclusive Zone. The nearest port which is Port GENTIL is about 163.98 nm to shore. 15 crew members were taken with one crew member killed.
President TAYYIP ERDOGAN’S office reported that his government would be organizing for the rescue of the kidnapped ship personnel.
About twenty days in captivity the fifteen crew members that were kidnapped last month in the Gulf of Guinea were freed. The seafarers were brought to Nigeria to undergo health checks. After that, they were transferred to Turkey from Abuja.
March 7, 2021, the Turkish Navy completed the large-scale naval exercise named BLUE HOMELAND 2021. The Turkish President RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN met with the commanders and said “Having a strong Navy is not a choice for Turkey; it is a “MUST”. We never acted with an EXPANSIONIST mindset. We have no eyes on any country’s land. We are trying to protect our homeland and our rights; we have never compromised our interest in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Italian Navy Carlo BERGAMINI – class Frigate ITS Luigi Rizzo will be conducting a joint exercise with U.S 6TH Fleet – the U.S Naval Forces Europe – Africa through the host nation NATO allies. Brazilian OPV ARAGUARI will be taking part in the OBANGAME EXPRESS 2021 in the Gulf of Guinea.
Obviously, the Gulf of Guinea has provided a THEATER FOR INTERNATION EXPANSIONIST AGENDA. The excuse is presented as a goal to develop a structured operation that includes maritime presence and surveillance activities in the areas of interest, to be linked with the broader national political-military commitment in the African continent, through the increase of Capacity Building and Security Force Assistance and with the involvement of multinational partners (NATO, EU, UN and multilateral coalitions).
However, the wider context of the truth is the presence of CHINA in Africa. Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby during a Defense Department news briefing on March 5, 2021, said that China is a pacing challenge of the Department. “We’ve got to make sure that we have the right capabilities, the right operational concept, the right policies and strategies in place, not just in the Indo – Pacific region but around the world because CHINA is having an impact globally.
It seems counter-intuitive, but China is increasingly a concern for the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa and NATO's Allied Joint Force Command.
Navy Admiral JAMES G. FOGGO told the participants of a webinar sponsored by the International Institute of Strategic Studies that China is actively working in Europe and Africa to subvert the international rules-based infrastructure that has maintained peace since the end of World War II.
China's whole-of-government approach has expanded out of the Indo-Pacific into the Arctic, Europe and Africa. In this region China is conducting unsafe intercepts of aircraft and ships, he said. It is threatening nations. China has established an overseas military base in the Horn of Africa and is looking to control other ports.
The Chinese One Belt, One Road initiative combines economic, diplomatic, military and political arms to change the international rules-based architecture. They are offering financial relief and opportunities to nations, especially in Africa, and then using that to influence the governments. "This type of influence is a security concern, and it could be used to restrict access to key seaports and airport facilities while providing access to sensitive government and military information through the technology of state-owned and state-controlled enterprises," he said.
"I think we're making a difference in Africa," FOGGO said. "We saw that with the development of the 2013 YAOUNDE (Cameroon) Code of Conduct signed by 25 Western and Central African nations as they collectively sought to address matters such as piracy, illegal fishing and illicit maritime activity.
The Code of Conduct framework established objectives and improved inter-regional coastal relationships and joint capabilities through various military exercises such as OBANGAME EXPRESS – a perfect excuse for international expansionist agenda.
Maritime / Crime Analyst
PFSO, CSO (UK Maritime & Coast Guide Certified)