Multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2017 successfully concludes

Naval personnel from Europe, the US, East Africa and West Indian Ocean nations, as well as various international organisations have successfully completed the annual multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2017 (CE17).

CE17 was the sixth iteration of the exercise, and concluded in concurrent ceremonies held in Le Chaland, Mauritius and Djibouti, Djibouti.

The exercise was supported by US Africa Command (AFRICOM) and conducted by the US Naval Forces Africa, and was designed to both assess and boost maritime law-enforcement capacities, and promote national and regional security in East Africa.

US Naval Forces Europe-Africa Maritime Partner Programmes US 6th Fleet director and vice-commander rear admiral Shawn Duane said: “This has been a tremendously successful exercise, and I'm happy that it concluded with remarkable progress made by all the partners while building maritime stability and security throughout the region.

"CE17 has been a tremendously successful, and concluded with remarkable progress made by all the partners, while building maritime stability and security throughout the region."

“We had great partners and great teamwork, and every year we see progress from all those involved and it's becoming a very important and complex exercise throughout the region.”

CE17 began on 31 January, and tested the ability of participating nations to respond to piracy, illegal fishing, illicit trafficking, and search and rescue situations. Personnel have also been trained to track and report procedures of simulated suspect vessels.

The nine-day exercise was conducted in the area surrounding operational hubs in Djibouti and Port Louis, and involved an in-port preparatory phase before the three-day period of underway drills.

Participating personnel have developed their capabilities regarding scenarios promoted by the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), in order to detect and disrupt the potential supply of materials intended to be assembled into weapons of mass destruction (WMD).