Cutlass Express 2023 sharpens maritime skills in Kenya

Cutlass Express, an 11-day exercise based in Djibouti, Kenya has brought together coast guards from around the world  to enhance maritime domain awareness and security efforts.

The event was sponsored by the US Africa Command and led by US Naval Forces Africa. Participants included maritime guard teams from Canada, Comoros, Djibouti, France, Georgia, Greece, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania and the United Kingdom.

Many tasks were presented to the teams, including tactical combat casualty care, marksmanship, at-sea manoeuvres, mine countermeasures and close-combat techniques, as well as legal instruction. All are important skills for naval forces to hone whilst operating in a region that consistently sees high sea crimes, including piracy, oil theft, drug, human and weapons trafficking.

Kenyan Navy Former Corporal Wamalwa said: “[These exercises] cut across all aspects of security, safety and the legal sphere as well.”

Speaking on Cutlass Express as a whole, Wamalwa pointed out the benefits of the updated information: “Now we know what to do, who to report to, how to share information, and with exercises like this in place we’ll definitely continue to build the capacity of the [East African] states, in as much as how to deal with illicit activity at sea. It’s an eye opener to the participants.”

Alongside these tasks, participants also received SeaVision training. A maritime domain awareness tool, the purpose of SeaVision is to keep track of vessels at sea. The tool was created by the US in 2012 and is now used by over 25 African countries to monitor their waters.

With new skills and a focus on collaboration, teams are ready to tackle maritime crime in the region with renewed vigour.


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