Rabat – Morocco and 11 other countries will participate in a naval exercise hosted by the Tunisian armed forces between May 17 and 28.
The 2021 Exercise Phoenix Express, will be the 16th iteration of the North African maritime exercise. This year it is set to take palace off the coast of Tunis, the Tunisian capital, as well as throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
The main portion of the exercise will take place at the La Goulette naval base in Tunis. One of the main objectives is to test the North African, European, and US naval forces’ “abilities to respond to irregular migration and to combat illicit trafficking and the movement of illegal goods and materials,” according to organizers.
“Exercises such as Phoenix Express 2021 increase interoperability among participating nations in order to increase maritime security and sustain global commerce,” said Captain Harry Knight, Phoenix Express exercise director.
He added: “Our maritime exercises allow us to develop our skills with our regional partners by learning from each other and working together.”
Besides the host country, Tunisia, 12 other nations are slated to participate in the exercise. Among them are Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, and the US.
“Phoenix Express is more than a multinational maritime exercise; it is a strategic opportunity for all participating nations to build a fruitful partnership and benefit from the others’ experience,” said Senior Captain Jamel Ben Omrane of the Tunisian Navy.
“The Tunisian Navy is more than ever motivated to meet the challenges and organize the 16th iteration of Phoenix Express despite the COVID pandemic,” he added.
The exercise is held in a different location every year. The 2020 exercise was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, and Morocco hosted the exercise back in 2019.
Morocco is an active participant in a variety of military exercises organized around Africa. Moroccan armed forces participate in organizing the joint Moroccan-American exercise, “African Lion,” which some consider as one of the most important interallied exercises in the world.