South AtlanticSouth Atlantic

The operation runs from June 18 to August 20

Por Segundo-Tenente (RM2-T) Thaís Cerqueira – Rio de Janeiro, RJ

The União Frigate undocked today (18) from the Rio de Janeiro Naval Base, beginning the Guinex-II 2022. The mission, which runs until August 20, with about 260 military personnel, aims to promote interoperability with Navies and Coast Guards in the area of the Gulf of Guinea, such as Ivory Coast, Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Nigeria and Cape Verde, through exercises at sea and in port, maintaining the representation of the Brazilian Navy (MB) in the South Atlantic.

In this interview, Captain Flavio Leta Vieira, Commander of the 2nd Escort Squadron, who is the Task Group Commander in Guinex-II, talks about the objectives and actions that will be carried out, explains a little about how the mission contributes to maritime security in the region, and addresses the strategic importance of the Gulf of Guinea for Brazil.

Agência Marinha de Notícias – What are the objectives of Operation Guinex-II?

One of the main objectives of the Operation is to strengthen the ties of the Brazilian Navy and of Brazil, as a nation, with the countries of the African coast. Historically, we have a great connection with this region and a special attention to our strategic surroundings. We can cite as examples the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries and the South Atlantic Zone of Peace and Cooperation. Brazil’s strategic environment, in which the west coast of Africa is inserted, is a very important region for the country in economic and political terms. The presence during Operation Guinex also wants to promote interoperability among nations, navies, and coastguards of the countries with which we will have the opportunity to work, thus contributing to the country’s foreign policy.

Agência Marinha de Notícias – Which countries are involved in the mission?

Directly involved are Ivory Coast, São Tomé and Príncipe, Cameroon, Nigeria and Cape Verde. Besides these countries, which will be visited by our Task Group, other Navies will be operating in the region and will participate in the exercises, such as: Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Senegal, Benin, Togo, among others. The idea is to have an exchange of experiences that will increase the readiness of all the means involved.

Agência Marinha de Notícias – What is the importance of the MB’s presence and action in the Gulf of Guinea? And what is the strategic relevance for the South Atlantic?

When we talk about Brazil’s presence in the Gulf of Guinea, we are talking about an important investment: support for maritime security in the South Atlantic.

The importance of maritime trade for the world is enormous and, speaking more specifically of Brazil, more than 85% of our trade goes through the sea. Taking into account the maritime trade lines – the number of ships that travel bringing and taking goods – the importance of the MB in the Gulf of Guinea is relevant to contribute to the reduction of illicit acts in the region, especially the action of pirates. This can contribute, for example, to reducing the cost of freight for ships and boats, which consequently will reflect for the population in the medium and long term in the price of traded items.

Strategically, we are talking about the environment that has been established by the MB as a priority, i.e. the countries on the west coast of Africa, South America, and the Antarctic continent. The countries of Africa and South America are very important to us. The presence of the MB in the South Atlantic as a protagonist of the actions, as a prepared and strong Navy that is able to carry out the tasks that are presented to it, makes our strategy of maritime security and support to foreign policy strengthen what was established as a priority.

Agência Marinha de Notícias – How does the mission contribute to maritime security in the South Atlantic?

The action of the presence of a military ship in an area where there are illegalities or the possibility of illegalities is a very big contribution. If we draw a parallel with land-based policing, an area that is not policed is much more likely to be illicit.

The presence of the MB in the South Atlantic reduces this type of occurrence. Our preparation and actions aim to prevent or combat illegal acts that could affect maritime security.

Agência Marinha de Notícias – What actions and activities are carried out during the mission?

The main focus of the training is the approach, visit, and inspection of other ships, but the exercises will include fast boat maneuvers, transit under asymmetric threats, and special operations techniques, among others.
We will present what we know and absorb from them other techniques, to increase our training. The expected result is that everyone involved will strengthen their tactics, techniques, and procedures for the benefit of maritime security.

Agência Marinha de Notícias – What is the difference between Guinex-I, which took place in 2021, and Guinex-II?

It is difficult to talk about a great differential when we are dealing with a successful operation. But, as in every operation we carry out, we try to point out some points where we can improve our actions. One of these points presented at the end of Guinex-I was the need to meet more often with the participating countries, before suspending. In 2022, the preparatory meetings provided a suitable environment for discussion and enabled detailed planning, as close as possible to what we will execute when we are there. This will enable us to have a much more fruitful exchange of experiences, because we already know what we are looking for in terms of knowledge. In addition, it will also provide more security for the Navies and Coast Guards with which we will conduct training and exercises.

Another important factor is the possibility of presenting to these countries some of the products from our Defense Industrial Base, in order to highlight this information and try to make our relationship even stronger, including commercially. All of this allows the countries to increase mutual trust, to develop, and to have the capacity to act in the South Atlantic with the necessary independence.

Watch the video about the Operation

(Audio in portuguese)

*** Translated by DEFCONPress Team ***

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