The Brazilian Navy (MB) is spearheading Operation Guinex-II in the Gulf of Guinea, Africa, June 18-August 20, with exercises at sea and ports to increase maritime security and interoperability with the navies and coast guards of the region. Participating in the operation are Cameroon, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Other navies operating in the region are prepared to take part in the exercises, such as Benin, France, Portugal, Senegal, Spain, Togo, the United Kingdom, and the United States, among others.
Guinex-II includes vessel boarding and inspection, fast boat maneuvers, transit under asymmetric threats (such as from speedboats and jet-skis), and special operations techniques, among others. The objective, the MB said, is for countries involved to exchange knowledge and techniques to strengthen capacity building as well as tactics, techniques, and procedures for maritime security, while increasing mutual trust among participating countries. The MB’s Frigate Union and some 260 military personnel are taking part in the operation.
“During the entire crossing up to the entrance in the region, the teams aboard the Frigate Union underwent a range of training courses, and received specific orientation through lectures and case studies, in order to be better prepared during their stay in the Gulf of Guinea,” MB Navy Captain Flavio Leta Vieira, commander of the 2nd Escort Squadron and Task Group commander for Guinex-II, told Diálogo.
Brazil has historically had great cultural, as well as strategic, economic, and political ties, with countries of the African Coast, as part of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, through the South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone (ZOPACAS), a forum of African and South American countries bordering the South Atlantic.
The United States has once again been invited to take part in the operation, bringing together the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Both Brazil and the United States have common interests in Africa’s maritime security and freedom of commerce. Coast Guard involvement in operations like Guinex allows the United States to deepen relationships with partners in the South Atlantic while sharing maritime security and governance information in the area.
“[…] The Frigate Union will receive officers from Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom aboard the ship. This is a way of exchanging experience and cooperation among navies,” said Capt. Leta, who added that the ship will alternate between sailing in the Gulf of Guinea region and docking at ports of Guinex-II participating countries.
“In the South Atlantic, piracy has been concentrated in the African margin, in regions such as the Gulf of Guinea, which is part of Brazil’s strategic environment. These actions demand strong naval power and greater Brazilian participation and cooperation in this maritime region, through the valorization of ZOPACAS as a foreign policy instrument, to strengthen strategic dissuasion,” the commander said.
This is the second version of Guinex; the first operation was carried out in 2021. According to Capt. Leta, among the points made at the end of Guinex-I, was the need to meet more often with participating countries. “In 2022, the preparation meetings provided a proper discussion environment that enabled detailed planning, as close as possible to what we will execute when we are there. This will enable us to have a much more fruitful exchange of experiences, because we already know what we are looking for in terms of knowledge,” Capt. Leta concluded.