Ocean Patrol Vessel “Amazonas” carries out activities with navies of countries on the African coast
By First Lieutenant (T) Nathalia Barbosa – Rio de Janeiro and Gulf of Guinea
Members of the Brazilian Navy (MB), embarked on the Ocean Patrol Vessel (NPaOc) “Amazonas”, are taking part in “Grand African Nemo 2023”, a multinational maritime security exercise held in the Gulf of Guinea, in cooperation with friendly navies. The NPaOc “Amazonas” left the Rio de Janeiro Naval Base on September 13 and will return to the capital on November 10, after passing through Angola, Ivory Coast, Namibia and Togo.
The operation aims to train navies on the west coast of Africa to conduct actions that promote maritime security, such as the limited use of force against piracy, kidnapping, arms and drug trafficking, illegal fishing, as well as rescue operations.
There was a Naval Patrol course and case studies on the main approaches and seizures already carried out by the MB in interagency operations.
The soldiers also underwent firing drills with fixed and portable weapons, on-board movement practices, approaches by the Combat Divers Group (GRUMEC), interrogation procedures by the Visit and Inspection Group and training to combat operational malfunctions.
“For the Ocean Patrol Vessel “Amazonas” to be able to carry out its duties, it is essential that the crew is in the best condition, which is achieved by continuous training at different levels of complexity, integration and interoperability,” said Frigate Captain Leonardo Gomes Barros, Commander of the NPaOc “Amazonas”.
Bilateral and multilateral exercises and war games improve interoperability with friendly navies and promote military-technical assistance. In “Grand African Nemo 2023”, they were divided into two phases.
The first took place between October 9 and 11, in the maritime area between the cities of Luanda and Soyo, both in Angola, with the aim of strengthening the fight against maritime pollution, illegal immigration and arms trafficking. The Angolan Navy patrol ship “Nzinga Mbandi”, which acted as an “Approach Ship” – with the task of carrying out a Visit and Inspection Action – and the “Amazonas”, which played the role of “Contact of Interest”, i.e. a vessel suspected of some irregularity, took part in the actions.
In the second phase, scenarios relating to maritime security were developed, in particular those of piracy; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and drug trafficking. The actions were carried out in regions such as Cabinda, in Angola, which is a major oil producer, as well as being a border area between the countries taking part in the exercise. The Brazilian ship once again acted as a “Contact of Interest”, having been boarded by the Patrol Vessels “Nzinga Mbandi”, from Angola; “Moliro”, from the Democratic Republic of Congo; “05 Frevier 1979”, from the Republic of Congo.
“The main result of these exercises is to increase regional interoperability between the countries of the South Atlantic, disseminate procedures and good practices in combating threats to maritime security in the region, and strengthen diplomatic ties and military cooperation,” said Frigate Captain Leonardo Gomes.
In addition to the operational aspect, interoperability exercises play an important role in Naval Diplomacy, contributing to Brazilian foreign policy. In this context, the NPaOc “Amazonas” held events in the ports of Luanda (Angola) and Walvis Bay (Namibia) with a narrated Flag Ceremony, in order to present the naval traditions of the MB to those present and celebrate military cooperation between the countries.
In Luanda, the Brazilian Ambassador to Angola, Rafael de Mello Vidal, highlighted the importance of Naval Diplomacy, its commitment to maintaining security in the South Atlantic and the recurrent participation of Brazilian Navy ships in exercises in the region. He was joined by Angola’s Secretary of State for National Defense, the ambassadors of Argentina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Namibia, and members of the local Brazilian community.
In Walvis Bay, Brazil’s Ambassador to Namibia, Vivian Loss Sanmartin, stressed the importance of an Ocean Patrol Vessel as a tool to support Brazilian foreign policy, emphasized the need for regional interoperability in tackling maritime insecurity, and highlighted the successful Brazil-Namibia cooperation through the Naval Advisory Mission and the Marine Technical Advisory Group. The ceremony was also attended by Namibian military authorities, the city’s mayor, guest ambassadors, Brazilian military personnel and representatives of the Brazilian community in the country.
To mark the end of the multilateral exercises, a Naval Parade was held on October 19 off the coast of Lomé, Togo. The parade featured the NPaOc “Amazonas” as the “Graduation Guide”, sailing ahead of other vessels from friendly navies, such as the PHA “Mistral”, from the French Navy; OPV “Tornado”, from the Spanish Navy; OPV “Pendjari” from the Benin Navy; and OPS “Agou” from the Togolese National Navy.
Ocean Patrol Vessel (NPaOc) “Amazonas”
The Ocean Patrol Vessel “Amazonas” (P120) is the first of three ships of the Amazonas class, incorporated into the MB on June 29, 2012, at Portsmouth Naval Base in the United Kingdom. The name is an allusion to the Brazilian river, considered to be the second largest in terms of water flow, located in the northern region of Brazil.
The ship was built to carry out surveillance of extensive maritime areas and, due to its great autonomy and ability to operate with a helicopter and transport up to two “Pacific 24” speedboats, it contributes to the protection and surveillance of Brazilian jurisdictional waters, also known as the Blue Amazon.
The mission of the NPaOc “Amazonas” is to carry out Naval Patrol and Search and Rescue operations, provide logistical support for installations on oceanic islands and Hostage Recovery and Rescue operations, with a view to safeguarding human life and Brazil’s interests at sea, as well as supporting Brazilian foreign policy.
Since its incorporation, the ship has carried out several missions with friendly navies, including Operation “PAMPAREX” in Argentina in 2013; four “OBANGAME EXPRESS” on the west coast of Africa in 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2022; a “Grand African Nemo” in 2021; an “IBSAMAR V” and an International Fleet Review in India, both in 2016; and a “UNITAS LXIII” in 2022.
*With the collaboration of First Lieutenant (RM2-T) Monalisa and Second Lieutenant Princepe
Source: Agência Marinha de Notícias