The Royal Navy patrol vessel HMS Trent sets sail for the waters of the Gulf of Guinea as it heads for security patrols and an Allied support mission in West Africa.
The River-class patrol vessel will visit Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, The Gambia and Cape Verde, and participate in French-led multinational training exercises that will bring together international partners in the region, known as the exercise name Grand African Nemo.
HMS Trent, which is the first Royal Navy ship to operate in the region for three years, will conduct maritime security patrols and support partner navies by helping them develop key maritime skills and develop plans for operations. futures in the region.
This deployment is a clear signal of the UK’s commitment to a more persistent engagement in the region, through which more than £ 6bn of UK trade flows every year.
Armed Forces Minister James Heappey said:
This deployment shows the integrated review in action. It shows how a truly global Britain is stepping up on the world stage to address common international security challenges.
By working hand in hand with our allies, we are using our forward-deployed armed forces to tackle threats at their source, making the world a safer place for everyone.
HMS Trent is carrying a contingent of Royal Marines from the 42nd Commando on board, which will train partner forces in the region in skills such as boarding and searching for suspicious vessels, as well as evidence management and medical skills.
In addition to providing training to partner countries, 42 Commandos are experts in boarding operations helping to combat illegal activities such as piracy, drug trafficking and terrorism.
HMS Trent will participate in the Friends of the Gulf of Guinea (FoGG) G7 ++ conference in Dakar, which the UK co-chairs with Senegal. Britain created the group in 2013 as part of the then G8 to coordinate regional maritime security efforts.
The commanding officer of HMS Trent, Commander Thomas Knott, said:
Continuing a year of forward deployment operations in the Black Sea and Mediterranean, this deployment marks an important return to the region for the Royal Navy demonstrating our commitment to improving maritime security in the region.
We are extremely proud and excited to begin this deployment to an exciting new region for HMS Trent. We look forward to working with regional partners and also engaging with local communities in an effort to strengthen security.
HMS Trent is one of five Royal Navy patrol ships currently operating around the world in areas of critical importance to the UK – from the Indo-Pacific to the South Atlantic to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
This is part of the Royal Navy’s forward presence program which aims to place patrol ships in positions around the world ready to respond to global events.
HMS Trent completed preparations for her patrol to West Africa this week in waters near Gibraltar, updating her skills after a period of maintenance and crew rotation.