A U.S. commodore says the rescue of a hijacked oil tanker tracked through five countries by several navies, including from the U.S., is the first big success in international maritime cooperation in the pirate-ridden waters of the Gulf of Guinea.

Capt. Heidi Agle, the commodore, was directing a training exercise against piracy when the hijacking provided a real-life lesson.

Pirates seized the Dubai-owned MT Maximus on Feb. 11 and sailed it nearly 800 miles (1,280 kilometers) before Nigeria's navy stormed the ship on Feb. 20.

Along the way it was tracked by the navies of the United States, Ghana and Togo.

Agle called it "a coordinated effort and the biggest piece of progress in the region" since the United States began training Gulf of Guinea nations in 2009.