The United States Navy and 33 other countries recently carried out weeks of maritime training in the Gulf of Guinea, to improve safety against pirates and to improve the monitoring of the West Africa coastline.

The Obangame Express training exercise, in its ninth year, this year included 2,500 personnel, 95 ships and 12 aircraft, with the participation of countries in West Africa, Europe and North America.

Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples said that in West Africa the Gulf of Guinea is crucial to economic development because economic prosperity is tied to the maritime domain. He said the maritime countries of the region need strong, professional military and law enforcement institutions that can allow maritime trade to flourish.