|Royal Australian Navy officer Commodore (CDRE) Jaimie Hatcher (centre left), Commander Combined Task Force 150, joins participants of Cutlass Express 2016 for a photo after the exercise closing ceremony on February 6.|
Victoria, Seychelles March 8, 2016 - Indian Ocean maritime security has been bolstered and international relationships strengthened as 450 naval and coast guard personnel from 18 nations gathered in the Seychelles for Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS.
The annual exercise, which included East African and international naval forces, seeks to enhance cooperation and combat threats to maritime security in the region.
Commodore Jaimie Hatcher, Commander Combined Task Force 150 represented the Royal Australian Navy.
Commodore Hatcher said training was conducted to a very high standard and included activities in Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania and the Seychelles.
“Enhancing cooperation between East African nations in order to extend the umbrella of maritime security is critical,” he said.
“By working together we can reduce the threat of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean.
“Pirates, smugglers and all those who threaten the security of the maritime domain may find it more difficult to exploit the high seas.”
Hatcher joined officials from the Seychelles, Mauritius, Djibouti, Comoros, Italy, Kenya and the United States.
Hatcher said achieving security in the maritime domain required a shared vision.
“By bringing together maritime security leaders and hosting Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS, the Seychelles continues its record of strong support for shared responses to maritime security challenges in the Western Indian Ocean,” he said.
“I am privileged to be a part of this exciting, and essential work.”
Hatcher met leaders from Seychelles Government and Seychelles Peoples Defence Force and recognised the country’s assumption of the Chairmanship of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS).
“Their ongoing support to organisations such as the CGPCS is an example of the Seychelles leadership and cooperative approach to addressing piracy, narcotics smuggling and maritime security issues in the Western Indian Ocean,” Commodore Hatcher said.
The Eastern Africa Standby Force, European Union Naval Force, International Maritime Organization and Combined Task Force 150 provided support for the exercise, which falls under the Africa Partnership Station series of events.