On 3 May the Gabonese Navy accepted a newly-constructed 2,100 sq ft maritime operations centre (MOC) at Port Gentil, built in collaboration with the US Navy (USN).

Begun in June 2018 by Seabees (USN Construction Battalions) working alongside Gabon’s Génie Militaire (military engineering branch), the MOC is a good example of collaboration in the region.

The work that has taken place between the US Navy Seabees and Gabon’s Génie Militaire is an example of a true partnership,” commented Maj WooWon Chung from the Office of Security Cooperation at the US Embassy in Libreville. “This has been a successful effort by the US Embassy Libreville, US Africa Command, US Navy and Gabon.”

The facility will be outfitted with modern equipment which will support Gabon in protecting its maritime borders and in countering illicit trafficking. In addition, the MOC will support future military exercises with the USN, such as Obangame Express, allowing the USN to fight alongside allies and partners.

"Efficient, economical, and cooperative, an MOC is an awesome tool for maritime security and safety," observed Lt Cmdr Ghislain Moussavou, assigned to the Naval Instruction Centre. "Indeed, this MOC is not only an instrument for collective security in the Gulf of Guinea, but also a platform for national synergy and a decision-making tool for the Navy."

Port Gentil is a peninsula located in the Gulf of Guinea, a location that is vital to joint efforts in ensuring maritime security, regional cooperation and combating illicit sea-based activities.

It’s been rewarding; on one end you have Seabees and Génie giving their best on the site to make things happen, the esprit de corps, the exchange of skill and more,” observed Lt jg Femi Ibitoye, Seabee detachment officer in charge. “On the other end you have the battalion, embassy and host nation working together to overcome the logistic challenges we constantly faced.”

The Gabonese Navy operates two Kership OPVs. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

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