PEMBA, Mosambique — Maritime forces from East Africa, West Indian Ocean nations, Europe, and the United States concluded the eighth iteration of the annual multinational maritime exercise Cutlass Express 2019, Feb. 7.

The conclusion of Cutlass Express brought several firsts to include India’s participation in the exercise and the implementation of the Indian Ocean Regional Information Sharing (IORIS) web-based platform through the European Union Critical Maritime Routes Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO) project.

IORIS enables member countries to set up a collaborative working environment to improve the understanding of the maritime domain and coordinate operations when incidents at sea occur. The platform marks an approach to address maritime security challenges such as piracy, drugs and arms trafficking, illegal fishing and environmental damages.

“The key thing during this exercise was to work with respective countries’ maritime operations centers to be able to better develop a common operating picture at sea with the goal of countering illicit trafficking of things like narcotics, trafficking in people and other goods transferred by sea,” said Capt. Matthew J. Lehman, commander, Task Force 65 and exercise commanding officer.

IORIS along with SEA Vision, a web-based platform serving a similar purpose, were used as the primary communication tools between land-based assets and participating ships. Vessels that participated in the exercise included the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), French patrol ship Le Malin (P 701), Mauritius Kora-class Corvette CGS Barracuda (CG 31), Indian Talwar-class frigate INS Trikand (F 51) and Malagasy patrol vessel RC Trozona.

More on USNAVAF Europe-Africa website

Photo by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)