A Royal Navy warship has joined the international fight against piracy in West African waters to help protect more than £6 billion of UK trade that passes through the region.
HMS Trent is in the Gulf of Guinea, the Royal Navy announced days after a Danish frigate’s boarding team killed four pirates south of Nigeria during a firefight on November 24.
HMS Trent has visited Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal to foster ties and train local forces, equipping them in the fight against illegal activity, and spoken to local fishermen to understand patterns of life during security operations in the Niger Delta.
The patrol ship carries a specialist team of Royal Marines from 42 Commando who are experts in boarding operations. The commandos have been sharing knowledge and expertise in the skills needed to board, search and – if needs be – seize suspect vessels.
Trent’s mission also included French-led multinational exercises, known as Grand African Nemo, during which the ship worked closely with the Togolese, Nigerian and Benin Navies, while also operating with the Italian frigate Marceglia as part of international efforts.
The deployment of the patrol vessel is a clear signal of the UK’s commitment to the region.
HMS Trent’s commanding officer, Commander Tom Knott, said: “I am extremely proud that HMS Trent is spearheading the Royal Navy’s return to West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. My Sailors and Royal Marines are highly trained in the delivery of Maritime Interdiction Operations and are working alongside regional partners to re-establish our understanding of this complex and vast waterspace.
“Alongside the UK’s 2021 co-chairing of the G7++ Friends of Gulf of Guinea we are targeting a collaborative approach to improving maritime security and to reassure the merchant shipping community.”
HMS Trent will soon visit Cape Verde where sailors and marines will train the Cape Verde Coast Guard in how to plan and conduct vessel boarding operations to support counter-narcotics missions.
The ship will continue to The Gambia before continuing her long-term deployment to the Mediterranean that has seen her operate as far east as the Black Sea since she left the UK six months ago.