Royal Navy sailors from Portsmouth take on pirates in west Africa

SAILORS from a Portsmouth warship have joined the international war against piracy in west African waters to help protect £6bn of UK trade passing through the region.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 29th November 2021, 8:54 am

HMS Trent is in the Gulf of Guinea – one of the world’s piracy hotspots – as the UK looks to improve security and clampdown on pirates who put seafarers’ lives in danger.

The patrol ship has already visited Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal to train local forces in seeking out and combating pirates in the Niger Delta.

Trent’s team of Royal Marines from 42 Commando – experts in boarding operations – have been passing on their skills to allies in Africa.

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HMS Trent has been on patrol in the Gulf of Guinea. Pictured: Royal Marines from 42 Commando

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As well as helping local forces, Trent has also joined a French-led series of drills in the region also seeking to destroy piracy operations off the African coast.

Commander Tom Knott, Trent’s captain, 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.

HMS Trent has been on patrol in the Gulf of Guinea

‘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.

‘This will be an enduring commitment to West Africa. So far we’ve already enjoyed hosting school children, conservation groups, government representatives and military leaders on board Trent to build stronger links with the community and explain exactly why the Royal Navy is deployed to this region.’

The UK co-chaired the G7++ Friends of the Gulf of Guinea conference with hosts Senegal during HMS Trent’s stop in Dakar this week.

The meeting brings together nations to deal with illegal activities at sea in the region and armed forces minister James Heappey visited Trent in the Senegalese capital.

HMS Trent has been on patrol in the Gulf of Guinea, carrying out operations to target pirates in the region

He said: ‘It was fantastic to be on board HMS Trent this week and to meet the servicemen and women who are working hard, far from home, to make the world a safer place.

‘HMS Trent’s visit to Senegal and deployment to the wider region is a clear demonstration of how Global Britain is stepping up on the world stage, working hand-in-hand with our allies and partners to tackle shared challenges like maritime security.’

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 then head 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 Portsmouth six months ago.

HMS Trent has been on patrol in the Gulf of Guinea to tackle piracy in the region.

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A Royal Marine pictured from 42 Commando in the Gulf of Guinea
HMS Trent has been on patrol in the Gulf of Guinea