Shipment term

Tri-Maritime Services Seize Large Cocaine Shipment

ATLANTIC OCEAN (April 6, 2022) – Sailors assigned to Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), seize contraband from a rigid-hull inflatable boat for transport to Cape Verdean authorities, April 6, 2022 Hershel “Woody” Williams is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of ​​operations in support of U.S. national and security interests in Europe and Africa. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Fred Gray IV/Released)

APRIL 8, 2022 – Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and U.S. Marines embarked aboard the U.S. Navy Expeditionary Seabase USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4), with support from the U.S. Environmental Security Program International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), assisted Cabo Verde authorities with the interception of a vessel smuggling approximately 6,000 kilograms of suspected cocaine on April 1.

As part of the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP), the joint and combined U.S.-Cape Verde team worked in coordination with the Maritime Analysis and Operations Center – Narcotics (MAOC-N) and the National Maritime Operations Center of Cape Verde (COSMAR) to conduct a compliant boarding of a Brazilian-flagged fishing vessel operating in international waters of the Atlantic Ocean near the west coast of Africa.

“The United States has a long-standing commitment to helping African states meet their maritime security challenges,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Gregory Anderson, director of operations for United States Command. United for Africa. “Our long-term partnerships with African states, including Cabo Verde, are essential to address threats such as terrorism, illicit trafficking and piracy, and to build capacity in the region to ensure security and long-term stability.

Under Cabo Verde’s jurisdiction, United States and Cabo Verdean law enforcement boarded and inspected the vessel, seizing approximately 6,000 kilograms of suspected cocaine with an estimated street value of over $350 million. Seven people were taken into custody by Cape Verdean law enforcement during the anti-drug operation.

The United States Navy and United States Coast Guard have a close relationship with Cabo Verde, as well as a bilateral law enforcement agreement, to support the fight against illicit maritime activities in the waters surrounding the archipelago.

“This operation is an excellent example of a strong and mutually beneficial partnership between the governments of the United States and Cabo Verde,” said Vice Admiral Steven Poulin, Commander of the Atlantic Zone of the United States Coast Guard. “Bilateral agreements like this allow the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and other agencies to work alongside partner nations to address their unique and shared challenges through a collaborative effort.”

Over the past decade, the United States has steadily increased maritime security cooperation with partners on Africa’s Atlantic coast to improve maritime domain awareness to help them protect their sovereign waters.

U.S. Tri-Maritime Services regularly work with African partners to build their capacity to counter illicit activities at sea. Last month, Cabo Verde participated in the U.S.-led Exercise Obangame Express 22, which is the largest multinational maritime exercise designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness (MDA), information sharing practices and tactical interdiction expertise in West Africa.

“West African nations face serious challenges at sea, including illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, as well as drug trafficking,” said Rear Admiral Anthony Carullo, Director of Operations , US Naval Forces Africa. “Illicit activities in the maritime domain jeopardize the economic development of the entire African continent. This successful ban sends a clear message that West African countries are ready to improve their national and regional prosperity by intercepting and prosecuting illegal activities.

Hershel “Woody” Williams is the first warship permanently assigned to the U.S. Africa Command area of ​​responsibility. The United States shares a common interest with African partner nations in ensuring safety, security, and freedom of navigation in the waters surrounding the continent, as these waters are critical to Africa’s prosperity and access to global markets.

For more than 70 years, the forces of the US 6th Fleet have forged strategic relationships with our allies and partners and solidified a foundation of shared values, experiences and vision aimed at preserving security and stability.

The ESB class of ships is a very flexible platform that can be used in a wide range of military operations. Acting as a mobile maritime base, they are part of the critical access infrastructure that supports the deployment of forces and supplies to support assigned missions.



U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs