By Shawn Eklund
Members of the Royal Moroccan Navy patrol ship RMN Bir Anzarane (341) conducted a proliferation security initiative (PSI) boarding on April 24, as part of Exercise Saharan Express 2015.
Bir Anzarane’s team boarded USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), which has played the part of a target vessel throughout the exercise, to familiarize Moroccan forces through realistic scenarios for countering illicit trafficking.
“The Moroccans are key partners in the PSI mission and proved their professionalism and commitment to the initiative with an excellent boarding here on Spearhead.”
– Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Smuda, Exercise Saharan Express 2015 maritime interdiction operations assessor
“It is rewarding to partner with Morocco and share an active role in exercising operationally through the Proliferation Security Initiative in this manner. We practice together through this exercise and others like it so we can train and demonstrate our capability and commitment to counter illicit proliferation activities in this vital region. This is a key part of Saharan Express and other exercises in the Express series. The exercise benefits greatly from our operational collaboration with the Government of Morocco on this important initiative, and we hope to continue that partnership in the future.”
– Capt. Jean O’Brien, Exercise Saharan Express exercise director
- A team of 12 trained operators’ utilized visit, board, search and seizure tactics designed to counter proliferation on the high seas.
- The team swept through Spearhead, detaining various role players and ultimately succeeding in its mission to find, identify and remove a cache of proliferation-related materials.
- The Proliferation Security Initiative, which was launched May 31, 2003, is a global effort that aims to stop the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, along with their delivery systems and related materials. Over 100 countries endorse the PSI.
- Spearhead is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of the international collaborative capacity-building program Africa Partnership Station.
- Exercise Saharan Express 2015, sponsored and facilitated by U.S. Africa Command, is designed to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and tactical interdiction expertise to counter sea-based illicit activity in the region. Nine countries from Africa and Europe are participating across two operational areas with nine ships, five aircraft, and over 600 maritime professionals.
- Saharan Express is a U.S. Africa Command-sponsored multinational maritime exercise designed to increase maritime safety and security in the waters of West Africa.