HomeNewsUK warship arrives in Nigeria to boost maritime security and trade

UK warship arrives in Nigeria to boost maritime security and trade

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A British Royal Navy vessel, HMS Trent, has docked in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, to support West African countries in combating piracy and other illegal activities at sea.

The ship, which arrived on Sunday, is equipped with a team of UK Royal Marines, a Puma surveillance drone, and a range of weapons. It is the second time HMS Trent has visited Nigeria, following its first trip in 2021.

According to the British High Commission in Nigeria, HMS Trent’s mission is to “support stability across the Gulf of Guinea through training to help partner navies take the fight to criminal actors, fostering ties and sharing knowledge, whilst conducting patrols to increase security.”

The Gulf of Guinea stretches from Senegal to Angola and is a vital trade route for the region and the world, with around £6 billion ($8.2 billion) of UK trade passing through it annually. However, it is also plagued by piracy, kidnapping, smuggling, and illegal fishing, posing a threat to the safety and livelihoods of millions of people.

HMS Trent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Tim Langford, said the Royal Navy had a long history of engagement in the region and an enduring partnership with the Nigerian Armed Forces. “My team is really looking forward to the opportunity to work with their Nigerian counterparts and build on the relationships established when we visited Lagos in 2021,” he said.

The UK Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, Jonny Baxter, said that the deployment showed how the UK stepped up on the world stage to tackle shared international security challenges. “Nigeria is an important and valued defense partner for the UK in West Africa. Our two countries face many shared threats, and we are keen to work with Nigeria to defeat these and to help improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.

The visit of HMS Trent comes amid a series of initiatives by the UK to enhance its presence and influence in Africa, especially in security, trade, and development. In February 2022, the UK hosted the first-ever UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, where it announced new deals worth £6.5 billion ($8.9 billion) with African countries. In June 2022, the UK also launched a new network of trade commissioners across Africa to boost trade ties and investment opportunities.

HMS Trent is one of several UK warships deployed to various world regions as part of the UK’s Global Britain strategy. In August 2022, HMS Queen Elizabeth led a carrier strike group on a seven-month voyage across the Indo-Pacific region, visiting India, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. In September 2022, HMS Richmond joined a US-led naval coalition in the South China Sea to uphold freedom of navigation and challenge China’s territorial claims.

Source: Punch Nigeria

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