The Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) conducted combined maritime security capabilities exercise with the Nigerian Navy, the Spanish Navy, and members of Ghana’s Special Boat Squadron (SBS), Aug. 11, 2021, the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet announced.
Maritime interdiction operations, Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) scenarios, fleet maneuvering, and helicopter insertion and casualty evacuations were all part of the combined exercise. Nigerian Navy ships NNS Prosperity, NNS Nguru, NNS Ekulu, NNS Osun, NNS Ose, and the Spanish Navy ship SPS Vigia, as well as the Nigerian Navy’s Regional Maritime Awareness Center at Western Naval Command, participated alongside Hershel “Woody” Williams.
“These maritime training operations required the collaboration of not one, but three countries’ navies, all working together simultaneously,” Capt. Chad Graham, commanding officer, USS Hershel “Woody” Williams, said. “Collaborative operations like this offer invaluable experience for my crew in the present, but they also allow us to be more efficient and capable in future operations with our partners in the region.”
This exercise follows a two-day maritime planning event with Nigerian Navy leaders. The crew also participated in community relations activities such as a basketball game, ship tours, and painting at the Lagos State Model Nursery and Primary School during their port visit. Nigeria has the largest navy in the Gulf of Guinea region, which is critical to Africa’s security and stability.
The U.S. Navy routinely trains with allied and partner nations to enhance maritime capabilities and interoperability by establishing communication and safety standards that strengthen regional maritime security.
“The exercises we conducted this week show our commitment to the mutual goal of countering maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea, and how we can work together to achieve it,” Graham said.
USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. The U.S. shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring security, safety, and freedom of navigation on the waters surrounding the continent, because these waters are critical for Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets.
Check out Naval Library App to find out the specifications of the U.S. Navy’s ESBs.