[Source: Kenya Defence Forces]
Commander United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) Gen Stephen Townsend officiated the opening ceremony of Cutlass Express 21 (CE21) at Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa on 26 July 2021.
Cutlass Express (CE) is a USAFRICOM directed annual maritime exercise conducted by the United States Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF).
It is aimed at promoting national and regional maritime security in East Africa and West Indian Ocean region which is a true reflection of the continued cooperation, working together and fostering the military bond.
This year’s Cutlass Express 2021 (CE21) training will incorporate Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) procedures, best practices and interoperability with partner nations while improving regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, responsiveness of maritime assets and adherence to the rule of law and counter proliferation interdiction capabilities in order to disrupt illicit trafficking and counter piracy.
The VBSS exercise shall be hosted in Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Tanzania, Madagascar and Djibouti. The training focus of the Kenyan VBSS chapter will be on illegal drugs, illegal fishing, trafficking of wildlife and human trafficking. Both the Kenya Navy (KN) and Kenya Coast Guard Services (KCGS) have produced participating troops and vessels as hosts of the visiting nations. Diving training will be conducted in Djibouti where KN has been offered eight slots for divers to participate.
The exercise begins with an in-port training period followed by at-sea scenarios and concludes with a senior leadership symposium.
The underway portion of the exercise tests the ship’s abilities to conduct maritime interdiction operations by boarding teams against simulated suspect vessels, detecting illicit activity, and follow-on evidence collection procedures.
The 13 participating nations include Comoros, Djibouti, Georgia, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, United Kingdom, and the United States.