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NEWS | May 28, 2022

Ships set sail from Tunis for exercise Phoenix Express 2022

By Petty Officer 1st Class Debra Thomas

Allied and partner navies participating in exercise Phoenix Express 2022 (PE22) departed from La Goulette Naval Base, in Tunis, Tunisia, May 28, 2022.

This event marks the beginning of the at-sea portion of PE22. The multinational North African maritime exercise, which takes place in the Mediterranean Sea, tests participating ships’ and maritime operation centers’ abilities to accomplish maritime security operations. These operations include ship boarding, airborne maritime patrol operations, and search and rescue drills.

"The at-sea portion of PE22 is when we put into action the skills we shared and practiced during the first week of the exercise," said Capt. Eilis Cancel, exercise director, Phoenix Express 22. "Maritime partnerships and regional cooperation enable nations to share responsibility and collectively respond to challenges and threats.”

Cancel said that exercises like PE22 provide the opportunity to engage in realistic maritime training to build experience and teamwork.

“Phoenix Express helps improve partnerships and better integrate efforts, so our partners can successfully work together to enhance maritime security in the Mediterranean coastal waters," said Cancel.

Allied and partner participating ships include Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary sea base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB-4), Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), Algerian National Navy Corvette Ezzadjer (922), Italian Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel Vega (P404), Italian Coast Guard Vessel Luigi Dattilo (CP 940), Royal Moroccan Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel Bir Anzaran (P-341), and other ships from Mauritania and Tunisia.

"We are ready and excited to get underway to train together to enhance our capabilities and interoperability with our European and African partners and allies to better achieve shared security cooperation objectives,” said Capt. Mohamed Manita, commanding officer, Tunisian Navy NFR Khaireddine (A 700). “Sharing information and experiences during exercise Phoenix Express is the key to building lasting friendships and relationships.”

At-sea events test not only the ships and crews underway, but also provide maritime operations center watch teams realistic scenarios to conduct communication drills and practice regional information sharing. Overall, the exercise provides North African, European, and U.S. maritime forces the opportunity to work together, share information, and refine tactics, techniques, and procedures in order to promote maritime safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea.

Phoenix Express is one of three NAVEUR-NAVAF-facilitated regional exercises as part of a comprehensive strategy to provide collaborative opportunities amongst African forces and international partners that addresses maritime security concerns.

For over 80 years, NAVEUR-NAVAF has forged strategic relationships with our Allies and Partners, leveraging a foundation of shared values to preserve security and stability.

Headquartered in Naples, Italy, NAVEUR-NAVAF operates U.S. naval forces in the U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and USAFRICOM areas of responsibility. U.S. Sixth Fleet is permanently assigned to NAVEUR-NAVAF, and employs maritime forces through the full spectrum of joint and naval operations.