By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Debra Thomas
Allied and partner nations marked the successful completion of the 17th iteration of exercise Phoenix Express 2022 during a closing ceremony at El Aouina Air Base, in Tunis, Tunisia, June 3, 2022.
The ceremony gave participating countries an opportunity to celebrate the successful completion of the multination maritime exercise featuring 12 allied and partner nations; Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“Phoenix Express fosters trust between participating nations by promoting mutual understanding and cooperation,” said Capt. Eilis Cancel, exercise director, Phoenix Express 2022. “These established and tested partnerships help us overcome the challenges that threaten freedom and security in the Mediterranean Sea.”
Participants worked together throughout the exercise to increase regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, and operational capabilities. Nations also exchanged information-sharing practices, enhancing efforts to promote safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea and territorial waters of participating North African nations.
Exercises like Phoenix Express 2022 allow participating nations to work side-by-side to better synchronize and rehearse for potential real-world scenarios. Throughout the exercise, North African and partner navies improved ship-to-shore and maritime operation centers (MOC) communications through realistic training scenarios involving human trafficking, drug smuggling, illegal weapons, and search and rescue scenarios that built interoperability and enhanced the overall maritime security environment.
“The multilateral naval exercise Phoenix Express 2022 is a valuable occasion to bring together friendly navies and associated maritime agencies to harness competencies and improve interoperability,” said Adm. Adel Jehane, Tunisian Navy Chief of Staff. “As we move forward together, we continue to build trust and comradeship to confront the multitude of security challenges in the Mediterranean Sea.”
Phoenix Express is one of three U.S. Naval Forces Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (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 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 U.S. Africa Command (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.