Ivory Coast Navy
Until December 1987, the Ivoirian navy (Marine Nationale) was part of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, which was also responsible for the merchant marine. In July 1974, Captain Lamine Fadika became the first Ivoirian minister of maritime affairs, replacing an expatriate. In December 1987, Fadika was removed from office, and the ministry was incorporated into the Ministry of Defense and Maritime Affairs under Banny.
The navy's mission was limited to coastal and river patrols and harbor defense, and its primary emphasis was on protecting the environment and fighting fires. The ministry planned to restructure the navy into two coastal patrol squadrons as additional fast attack craft were acquired. Naval headquarters were at the main naval base at Locodjo, near Abidjan; smaller bases were at Sassandra, San-Pedro, and Tabou, all on the southwestern coast. The navy expanded from about 200 personnel in 1970, to 400 in 1980, to about 700 in the late 1980s, maintaining a ratio of officers to enlisted men of 1 to 10. It had a small but versatile force of warships, auxiliaries, and service craft. Most of these were French craft, commissioned in the late 1970s. The navy was also reported to have a commando group and one light transport aircraft. The independent merchant marine fleet consisted of more than sixty vessels, including three tankers.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs operated a number of training institutions for Ivoirian and West African naval and merchant marine personnel. These schools were transferred to the Ministry of Defense and Maritime Affairs in December 1987. In 1975 plans were unveiled for a regional 1,500-student naval/ merchant marine academy in Abidjan to serve the needs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other inter-African organizations to which Cote d'Ivoire belonged. By 1983 several training facilities were in operation, including the Merchant Marine Training Academy, the Academy of Oceanographic Sciences and Technology, the Regional Maritime Instruction Center, and the Center for Antipollution Control. These regional training institutions and others were supported by the United Nations, the European Development Fund, and other international organizations. Several countries, particularly France and Japan, also provided aid. France supplied most of Cote d'Ivoire's naval craft as well as maritime training; Japan furnished the Navy's only training ship, trained Ivoirian naval officers, contributed more than US$500,000 toward the construction of the Abidjan Naval Academy, and participated in the phased expansion of the Naval Academy and the Abidjan port facilities.
At the Navy Base in the Plateau District of Abidjan, three members of the US Coast Guard trained members of the Ivoirian Navy as part of the US government’s engagement with Cote d’Ivoire on maritime law enforcement and security. Using three recently acquired Ivoirian navy patrol boats, the US Coast Guard used real-life scenarios in a hands-on training environment to train the Navy participants in professional communications, international maritime law, boarding preparations and procedures, arrest and detention procedures, and high-risk search techniques.
The Ivoirian sailors participated enthusiastically in various scenarios that involved boarding a vessel where illicit trafficking activity was suspected. As part of their training, the sailors conducted a boarding exercise and worked as a team to search the vessel and make any necessary arrests. Participants faced challenges in resolving these scenarios, including language barriers with the suspected criminals and decoy tactics such as fires in other parts of the boat that attempted to distract the participants from their objective. Following each scenario, the US Coast Guard trainers provided feedback to the participants and reported that the Ivoirian sailors did a good job of teamwork and decision making to resolve each situation.
The two week training course also featured classroom time and aims to assist the Ivoirian Navy and its partners in conducting potentially dangerous at-sea boardings of vessels suspected of illegal narcotics and other trafficking within Ivoirian territorial waters safely and effectively.
This training was part of a broader U.S national effort to assist Ivoirian partners with maritime security and is part of security sector engagements with the United States worth roughly $4 million in 2016. The US Africa Command worked with Cote d’Ivoire on planning for Obangame Express, an annual maritime security exercise in the Gulf of Guinea with participation from more than 20 countries. Cote d’Ivoire first participated in Obangame Express two years earlier, sending only one participant as an observer. Showcasing how maritime cooperation between the US and Cote d’Ivoire has grown, Cote d’Ivoire is the host nation for this exercise in March 2017.
This list includes all surface combatants, submarines, mine warfare vessels and patrol craft over 100 tons displacement, and all amphibious ships and auxiliaries over 500 tons displacement. Non-self-propelled craft and vessels without seagoing capability are not included. Ships not yet commissioned, or in long-term overhaul/conversion, are listed in [brackets]. Navigation and surface-search radars are not listed. All designations & classifications are unofficial; they may or may not correspond to "official" designations.
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