The British Royal Navy will send the patrol ship HMS Trent to the Gulf of Guinea to conduct security patrols and provide support to West African allies.
The mission will be the Royal Navy’s first in three years in the region.
HMS Trent will take aboard 17 members of the Royal Marines 42 Commando Unit to help conduct a series 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, such as boarding and searching for suspect vessels, as well as evidence handling and medical skills.
The 42nd Commando unit is an expert in boarding operations that will combat illegal activities such as piracy, drug smuggling and terrorism.
“We are very proud and excited to begin this deployment to what is a new and exciting region for HMS Trent,” said HMS Trent’s commanding officer, Commanding Officer Tom Knott:
“We are looking forward to working with regional partners and also collaborating with local communities in an effort to strengthen security.”
The International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre says the Gulf of Guinea remains particularly dangerous for seafarers. The region accounted for 32% of the 68 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide, the 50 hijacked crews and the only crew fatality recorded by the IMB during the first half of 2021. While the number of hijackings recorded in the Gulf of Guinea in the second quarter was the lowest since the second quarter of 2019, pirates continue to target all types of vessels across the region.
The Gulf of Guinea region sees over £6 billion of UK trade each year. The mission is coordinating with the UK’s regional and international partners through the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea (FoGG) and the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Partnership Forum.
“Continuing a year of forward deployment 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 enhancing Maritime Security in the Gulf and supporting the UK’s co-chairmanship of the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea in 2021.”