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Cutlass Express 14th military exercise in Seychelles focuses on non-compliant boarding 

Victoria, Seychelles | March 6, 2024, Wednesday @ 16:12 in National » GENERAL | By: Alisa Uzice Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3080
Cutlass Express 14th military exercise in Seychelles focuses on non-compliant boarding 

The officers participating approached the vessel on a smaller boat and attempted to board and subdue the hostile crew on board. (Seychelles News Agency)

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Participants in the 14th edition of the Cutlass Express, a multinational military exercise taking place in Seychelles and two other countries, demonstrated the skills they acquired since the training began last week.  

The public relations officer for the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF), Lieutenant Colonel Achille Mondon, told reporters, "Today we had what we call a VIP Day, where high officials from the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) and the American Navy had an opportunity to observe the practical exercises of what was taught during the theory last week."

The exercises are taking place simultaneously in Seychelles, Djibouti, and Kenya and there are around 50 participants in the exercise in the island nation from seven different countries, as well as instructors from the United States and Tunisia.

There are 16 sixteen countries from the region participating in the exercise with a total of 800 representatives and among the countries taking part are also Comoros, Madagascar, Djibouti and Mauritius.

With the Seychelles Coast Guard vessel, 'Le Vigilant' playing the part of bait, all participants could take turns to practice boarding in groups and this was then assessed by the instructors present.

The exercise the participants were practicing on Wednesday was non-compliant boarding done onboard Seychelles vessel Le Vigilant. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

This year, the participants were practicing non-compliant boarding.

"There are two types of boarding, the first being compliant where the boat crew cooperates with boarding from officers, and the second type is non-compliant. This is when the crew is aggressive and does not cooperate. We also use this type of boarding when there is suspicion of illicit activities happening," Mondon explained.

This was demonstrated through the exercise on Wednesday and the officers participating approached the vessel on a smaller boat and attempted to board and subdue the hostile crew on board. The exercise was complete with fake deaths and injuries with the officers having to demonstrate first aid and rescue as well.

The two-week multinational military exercise 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.

On the U.S. side of the operation, Captain Simon Hwang, the exercise director for the Cutlass Express military exercise expressed his satisfaction at the outcome.

"The officers participating have shown tremendous progress from where they started a week ago. I thought the exercise went really well. One of the key things here is the combination of different partners working together in harmony, a phenomenal event," he said.

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Tags: Cutlass Express, Seychelles Defence Forces, Seychelles Coast Guard

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