MAY 25, 2017, NAPLES, Italy (NNS) – U.S., North African, and European maritime forces concluded exercise Phoenix Express 2017 in a ceremony held at Escuela de Infanteria de Marina General Albacete Fuster in Cartegena, Spain, May 17.
Phoenix Express 2017, sponsored by U.S. Africa Command and facilitated by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, was designed to bring together North African, European, and U.S. maritime forces as part of a global network of navies to enhance cooperation and expertise in maritime security operations.
“U.S. personnel trained alongside North African and European forces and focused on maritime security operations that included a wide variety of training for all participating forces, including ship boardings, airborne helicopter operations, and law-enforcement training,” said Capt. Bill Ellis, commander, Task Force 67 and officer in tactical control of the exercise. “This type of collaboration fosters trust between participant nations by promoting mutual understanding and cooperation. These established and tested partnerships will help us overcome the challenges that threaten freedom and security in the maritime domain.”
Thirteen nations, whose contributions span from boarding teams to ships to maritime operations centers, participated in Phoenix Express.
“The Mediterranean is the world’s oldest waterway and it is important that we work together to ensure it remains a place where global commerce can thrive,” said Ellis. “The United States shares a common interest with African countries in ensuring security and safety on the waters surrounding the continent because they are critical for Africa’s prosperity and global trade.”
Scenarios focused on the globally-recognized Proliferation Security Initiative allowed endorsing nations to develop capabilities to detect and disrupt the delivery of materials used to build and develop weapons of mass destruction.
“Phoenix Express provides the 13 participating nations with the opportunity to work with the latest technology and learn from one another, enabling them to address and combat issues affecting the Mediterranean waters,” said Ellis.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet conducts three “Express” series exercises: Obangame Express in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea; Phoenix Express in the Mediterranean Sea; and Cutlass Express in East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean. These exercises help to build capabilities of participating maritime forces to work collectively and in conjunction with U.S., European, and North African partners to combat piracy and illicit trafficking, and to respond to maritime threats.
This is the 13th iteration of the multinational maritime exercise Phoenix Express. Growing from six nations in 2004, today nations from Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, the Netherlands, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States fully participate in the exercise.
From U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs