Exercise Phoenix Express 2021 starts in Tunisia

Exercise Phoenix Express 2021, the 16th iteration of the North African maritime exercise begins May 17, 2021, in Tunis, Tunisia, and throughout the Mediterranean Sea.

Thirteen nations will operate together through May 28 to increase regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities, enhancing efforts to promote safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea and territorial waters of participating North African nations.

Naval forces from Europe, North Africa, and the United States began the 16th iteration of the multinational maritime exercise Phoenix Express 2021 (PE21) with an opening ceremony held at the National Center for Cartography and Remote Sensing Amphitheater in El Aouina, Tunisia, May 18, 2021.

Exercise Phoenix Express is one of the three regional maritime drills executed by US Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF), is designed to improve regional cooperation, increase maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities in order to enhance efforts to promote safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea.

Capt. Harry Knight, Exercise Director, Phoenix Express, speaks at the opening ceremony for exercise Phoenix Express 2021. Exercise Phoenix Express 2021, conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, is an at-sea maritime exercise designed to improve cooperation among participating nations in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Mediterranean. [Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Debra Thomas]

The 13 nations scheduled to participate in Phoenix Express 2021 include Tunisia, Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, and the United States.

“Phoenix Express is about strengthening our friendships and our partnerships in this critical region,” said Admiral Robert P. Burke, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. “The Mediterranean is the life blood of global trade, regional security and stability is crucial for global prosperity. We are all united in our pursuit of a common good, maritime security.”

Exercise Phoenix Express 2021 is hosted by Tunisia with training taking place throughout the Mediterranean Sea, to include territorial waters of participating North African nations. 

“It’s always appropriate to stress the importance of the collaborative approach to meet the shared goals of a safe and secured Mediterranean Sea, therefore I thank all participant nations for their tremendous effort to participate in PE 21, despite the global pandemic and for their resolve to support peace and stability in the Mediterranean Region. I especially thank the U.S. Navy, AFRICOM, the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, particularly the Office of Security Cooperation and the Defence Attaché Office for their efforts and commitment to make this important event happen.” said Commodore Mohamed salah SAGAAMA, Tunisian Navy deputy chief of staff for naval operations.

Exercise Phoenix Express 2021 as part of a comprehensive strategy to provide collaborative opportunities amongst African forces and international partners that addresses maritime security concerns.

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