US-led 14th Cutlass Express military exercise kicks off in Seychelles, Mauritius and Kenya

General |Author: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | February 26, 2024, Monday @ 15:18| 4540 views

Participants in the Cutlass Express 2024 and guests at the launching ceremony. (State House)

(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles and other countries in the western Indian Ocean region are set to learn how to disrupt and prevent common maritime threats through the 14th Cutlass Express, a multinational military exercise, launched on Monday.

The launching took place at the Seychelles Coast Guard headquarters in the presence of President Wavel Ramkalawan, the commander-in-chief of the SDF, the United States Ambassador to Seychelles, Henry Jardine, and other high officials.

Sixteen countries from the region are participating in the exercise with a total of 800 representatives and among the countries taking part are Comoros, Madagascar, Djibouti and Mauritius.

The lieutenant colonel and commanding officer of the Special Forces Unit of the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF), Archil Mondon told reporters "for this edition, the exercises are taking place in three countries, Seychelles, Djibouti, and Kenya, and here we have around 50 participants from seven different countries and instructors from the United States and Tunisia."

He said that after the official kick-off on Monday, the exercise will go on for two weeks with classes in the first week and practical sessions outside in the second week. 

Around 50 participants from seven countries are participating in this year's exercise. (State House) Photo License: CC-BY

“The focus of the exercise in Seychelles will be boarding, diving and operations at the maritime centre. For our defence forces, we have around 15 officers participating in all three training. For the boarding training, since it is more advanced, participants will need to have some experience in doing it. When this exercise ends, there will be a joint operation together with the U.S. coastguard on a Seychelles Coast Guard vessel," said Mondon.

Brigadier Michael Rosette, chief of the SDF said in his address "The exercise provides us with an opportunity to come together."

He stressed the importance of the exercise by saying that "what they will learn in the coming two weeks will prepare the participants for real life to what they face in everyday duties.

Rosette urged all the participants to make the maximum use of this opportunity.

Meanwhile, Jardine explained that "Maritime security is of paramount importance in today's interconnected world. Our oceans and seas are vital lifelines for global trade, transportation and economic prosperity."

Cutlass Express is a U.S.-led maritime exercise that takes place every year to promote national and regional maritime security in East Africa and the western Indian Ocean. The exercise is designed to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security, and increase interoperability between the regional navies. 


Tags: Cutlass Express, multinational military exercise, Seychelles Coast Guard, Seychelles Defence Forces

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