Key Facts about Gulf of Guinea

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Indian Naval Ship INS Sumedha recently made a port visit at Lagos, Nigeria as part of its deployment to the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

About Gulf of Guinea:

  • It is the northeasternmost portion of the tropical Atlantic Ocean, located off the western coast of the African continent.
  • It is found at the junction of the Prime Meridian and the Equator at 0°0’N and 0°0’E. 
  • The area covers 2.3 million square kilometers, with approximately 6,000 kilometers of coastline.
  • It has a narrow continental shelf.
  • It has warm tropical waters with relatively low salinity because of the rivers that drain into it and also due to the high rainfall in the region.
  • Its major tributaries are the Volta and Niger rivers.
  • Coastline:
    • The 16 coastal countries that are situated along the Gulf of Guinea are Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gabon, Nigeria, Ghana, São Tomé and Principe, Togo, and Sierra Leone.
    • The coastal region of the Gulf is mostly low-lying and is interspersed with mangrove swamps, marshes, and lagoons.
    • The coastline of the Gulf of Guinea is remarkably similar to the continental margin of South America (that runs from Brazil to the Guianas), thus establishing a clear confirmation of the theory of continental drift.
  • The Gulf of Guinea region accounts for more than 35% of the world’s total petroleum reserves.
  • It is one of the world’s most dangerous gulfs because of the widespread piracy that has severely affected many countries in West Africa, along with other international countries.

What is INS Sumedha?

  • It is the third ship of the indigenously built Saryu-class Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPV).
  • It was indigenously designed and built by Goa Shipyard Limited.
  • It was commissioned into the Indian Navy on March 7, 2014.
  • It is part of the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet, based in Visakhapatnam.
  • Primary Functions: To undertake EEZ surveillance, anti-piracy patrols, fleet support operations, provide maritime security to offshore assets, and carry out escort operations for high-value assets.
  • Features:
    • It has a displacement of 2,230 tonnes and measures 105 metres in length and 12.9 metres in beam.
    • It is fitted with a state-of-the-art weapon and sensor package. 
    • It can carry an Advanced Light Combat Helicopter onboard.
    • The ship is propelled by two diesel engines, the largest of their kind ever deployed in the Indian Navy, which allow it to reach a top speed of 25 knots.
    • With a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) at 16 knots (30 km/h), the offshore patrol vessel is suitable for extended missions and operations.

Q1) What is continental shelf?

A continental shelf is the edge of a continent lying beneath the ocean. This shelf extends from the coastline of a continent to a drop off point called the shelf break. The shelf break is where the underwater edge of a continent shelf begins to rapidly slope downwards towards the ocean floor depths. From the break, the shelf descends into the deep ocean floor in the form of a continental slope.

Source: INS Sumedha strengthens diplomatic ties with port visit to Nigeria's Lagos