Mauritania, Morocco Participate in International Maritime Drill

saharan-expressMauritania and Morocco were the only two Maghreban countries that took part in the international maritime security cooperation exercise organized lately off the Mauritanian and Senegalese coasts.
This regional naval drill, dubbed “Saharan Express 2013”, aims to enhance maritime security and improve communication cooperation between the U.S., West African countries and their key European partners.
SE-13 (7-14 March ) brought together the navy forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leon, Mauritania and Morocco.
This week-long exercise was an opportunity for African, European and U.S. maritime services to work together, share information and improve working methods to help West African countries better monitor their territorial waters, foster their counter-piracy capabilities to deter illegal maritime activities such as illegal fishing, clandestine immigration, arms smuggling & drugs trafficking.
These naval war games are designed to improve maritime safety and security in West Africa as nearly 80 pc of world commodities passes through the shores of participating countries whose interests are being threatened by increasing acts of sea piracy.
The program of SE-13 also featured a wide variety of training for all participating forces, including at-sea ship boarding and queries, medical familiarization, air operations, communication drills and regional information sharing.
Organized annually since 2011, SE-13 is one of the four African regional maritime exercises taking place within the frame of “Africa Partnership Station” (APS), a global maritime initiative developed by the US Naval Forces to build the skills, expertise and professionalism of African militaries, coast guards and seamen. The APS program is delivered in many forms including ship visits, aircraft visits, training teams, and Seabee construction projects throughout most of the year. APS is part of a long-term commitment of all participating nations and organizations from Africa, the United States, Europe, and South America.

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