Britain’s Royal Navy will be sending the patrol ship HMS Trent to the Gulf of Guinea for security patrols and to provide support to West African allies.
The mission will mark the Royal Navy’s first in three years in the region.
HMS Trent will have 17 members of the Royal Marines’ 42 Commando unit on board to help carry out a range of joint exercises and training to strengthen ties and develop plans for future operations in the region. The ship will also conduct security patrols and support partner navies by helping to develop key maritime skills, like boarding and searching of suspicious vessels, as well as evidence handling and medical skills.
The 42 Commando unit are experts in boarding operations which will fight against illegal activity like piracy, drugs-smuggling and terrorism.
“We are extremely proud and excited to commence this deployment to what is an exciting new region for HMS Trent,” said HMS Trent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Tom Knott, said:
“We are looking forward to working with regional partners and also engaging with local communities in an effort to strengthen security.”
The International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre says the Gulf of Guinea continues to be particularly dangerous for seafarers. The region accounted for 32% of the 68 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide, all 50 kidnapped crew, and the single crew fatality recorded by IMB during the first half of 2021. While the number of kidnappings recorded in the Gulf of Guinea in the second quarter was the lowest since Q2 2019, pirates continue to target all vessel types throughout the region.
The Gulf of Guinea region sees more than £6 billion of UK trade every year. The mission is being coordinated with UK’s regional and international partners through the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea (FoGG) and Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum.
“Continuing a year of forward deployed operations in the Black Sea and Mediterranean, HMS Trent deploys for a patrol of West Africa including the Gulf of Guinea,” said Commander Knott. “This deployment marks an important return to the region for the Royal Navy demonstrating our commitment to improving Maritime Security in the Gulf and support to the UK co-chair of the G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea in 2021.”