Multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2019.2 (CE 19.2) has concluded during a ceremony in Victoria, Seychelles.

The US Africa Command-sponsored Cutlass Express exercise is facilitated by US Naval Forces Europe-Africa and the US 6th Fleet.

The exercise seeks to enhance maritime domain awareness, readiness of maritime assets, and combined maritime law enforcement capacity.

Cutlass Express also aims to improve interoperability between participating countries, while promoting regional security in East Africa.

CE 19.2 was the second iteration of the maritime exercise held in the Western Indian Ocean.

It involved forces from 17 East African, North American, European, and West Indian Ocean countries.

US 6th Fleet vice commander rear admiral Nancy Lacore said: “To all of our partners here today, thank you for making this exercise such a tremendous success.

“With exceptional professionalism, you have demonstrated that by working together, we have the capability to counter threats in a complex maritime environment, to share information regionally within the maritime domain, and to apply the rule of law in maritime security operations.”

The 17-day exercise was conducted in the area near Madagascar, Djibouti, Mauritius, and Seychelles.

Participating forces took part in in-port preparatory phases and at-sea scenarios.

Djiboutian Navy commander colonel Ahmed Djama said: “Maritime security doesn’t only happen in a boat. We must cooperate in advance with our partners in the peace-building process not only through military ways but by building partnership, friendship and understanding between us.”

The forces practised the interdiction of illicit drugs, arms, money, and WMD material.

The exercise also tests the skills of boarding teams and operators in the Maritime Operations Centers.