Maritime forces from 13 nations have begun the multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2013, in several operational areas in waters off East Africa, to boost maritime safety and security in the region.
The week-long at-sea maritime exercise also aims to enhance cooperation, tactical expertise and information sharing practices among the allied nations.
During the exercise, featuring in-port phase activities and naval concepts at sea, allied personnel will conduct a wide variety of missions including maritime boarding, medical response, radio communication and information sharing across regional maritime operations centres.
The exercise will take place in the vicinity of four different naval hubs including Mombasa, Kenya, Djibouti, Djibouti, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Port Victoria, Seychelles.
Participants will also conduct tactics and techniques, simulating real-world counter-piracy and counter-illicit trafficking operations, as well as actions taken to deter illegal fishing.
Personnel from Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Seychelles, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania, Comoros, Yemen, the Netherlands, Denmark and the US, as well as representatives from the Eastern Africa Standby Force, NATO, and EU Naval Force will participate in the drill.
Cutlass Express 2013 exercise director captain Guy Jackson said: "Cutlass Express is designed to enhance maritime security capabilities, improve information sharing and strengthen the bonds of each and every participating nation, so that we can all work together for the long term."
Exercise Cutlass Express, one of four Africa-focused regional Express series exercises, is part of a comprehensive strategy of US Naval Forces Europe-Africa / US 6th Fleet and US Africa Command, to allow African partners to address maritime security concerns.
Image: Djiboutian Marines conducting ship-boarding operation as part of Exercise Cutlass Express 2013 at the port of Djibouti. Photo: courtesy of Sgt. Chad Warren.