NEWS | Dec. 11, 2020

U.S. Sixth Fleet Hosts Virtual Africa Sea Power Symposium

By U.S. Sixth Fleet Public Affairs

Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet hosted a virtual Africa Sea Power Symposium (ASPS) to discuss current maritime security challenges and international cooperation with various stakeholders, Dec. 7-9.

The flag-level maritime security symposium, facilitated by the U.S. Naval War College, brought together maritime force leaders from around the African continent as well as leaders of other navies and coast guards that operate in and around Africa.

“The global maritime environment is too large and too complex for any one nation to safeguard; we must work together,” said Vice Adm. Gene Black, commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet. “The majority of Africa’s economic activities rely on the safe and lawful use of the African waters – which is why our cooperation with one another and our open and honest dialogue about challenges and solutions are crucial.”

The ASPS provided an opportunity to build and maintain relationships across the Africa Maritime Security community and discuss developing challenges and solutions.

“The virtual symposium was an excellent opportunity to bring regional leaders and experts together to discuss the serious issues facing Africa, ranging from piracy to illegal fishing, trafficking of arms and narcotics, all the way to terrorist activity,” said Capt. John Tully, director of Africa engagements, U.S. Naval Forces Africa. “Illicit activity undermines stability and economic development throughout the continent.”

In addition to updates on the security environment, participants engaged with experts including Ambassador Dr. Namira Negm of the African Union Commission on the AU’s maritime strategy and security mechanisms.

“These problems are complex, spanning international borders and territorial waters,” said Black. “Addressing them successfully will take cooperation, collaboration, and trust among partners.”

The ASPS also featured three panels with experts from Africa, Europe, and the U.S.: making multinational maritime operations work in Africa, the significance of international law in multinational operations, and challenges associated with leading navies.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.