November 21, 2018 (Google Translation) – Since September 2018, thirty-six Portuguese Marines have been deployed aboard the Mistral Projection and Command Building (BPC) as part of the Corymbe mission in the Gulf of Guinea.
The integration of Portuguese marines into the crew of a BPC is part of an international cooperation to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
Placed under the tactical command of the commander of the Mistral, this detachment of Portuguese riflemen embarked with its armament, its equipment and its boats. It has capabilities similar to those of French riflemen (command, visit, amphibious assault and force-protection). The detachment thus fulfills three missions: to reinforce the protection of the vessel at sea and at the dock, to protect skippers and the landing point during amphibious operations and to reinforce the inspection teams when it comes to controlling a vessel at sea.
During the PUMA II amphibious exercise , conducted with the French forces prepositioned in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the Portuguese detachment was in charge of protecting the shipping and securing of the landing points. During Exercise Grand African Nemo, which allowed to play 27 training scenarios for the benefit of the coastal waters of the Gulf of Guinea, the Portuguese military transmitted their know-how to the visiting teams of the partner countries.
In summary, this embarkation was a real source of mutual enrichment. The head of the Portuguese detachment welcomes the level of interoperability achieved: “This is the first time that Portuguese sailors participated in a mission Corymbe with an operational detachment. Having found that the technical and tactical procedures were almost similar, we quickly and easily worked together to benefit the maritime safety of the area. Until the last day of our presence aboard the Mistral, we will be ready under any circumstances to act with the French as one and the same unit! “.
After the success of this first boarding of a BPC, the Franco-Portuguese partnership could be part of longer-term joint actions.
Since 1990, France deploys one or two buildings in mission Corymbe almost permanently in the Gulf of Guinea. The mission has two major objectives: to participate in the protection of French interests in the area as well and to contribute to the reduction of maritime insecurity, by helping in particular to reinforce the capacities of the navies bordering the Gulf in the field of maritime safety, in the framework of the Yaoundé process. The deployment of French vessels on a Corymbe mission completes the pre-positioned French system in West Africa (Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal) and participates in the maritime component of operational cooperation implemented regionally by these presence forces.