Eight maritime interdiction boarding teams and six participating ships continue at-sea maritime security training scenarios as part of Phoenix Express, May 30.

During the scenarios, teams are taking turns boarding simulated suspect commercial vessels and executing tactics to counter-illicit trafficking.

Participating ships include the Hellenic navy frigate HS Navarinon, Royal Moroccan navy frigate Hassan II, Algerian navy frigate Mourad Rais, Tunisian navy fast attack craft La Galite, and the Turkish navy frigate Fatih.

Beyond the boarding scenarios, the crews of each ship are working closely together in a number of mission areas such as: tracking vessels of interest, communicating between other ships and maritime operations centers ashore, and overall ship maneuvering and interoperability.

“You can learn a lot from these kinds of exercises and even more when working directly with another nation,” said Hellenic navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Makrakis Vagelis, supervisor of electronic communications on board the Navarinon. “You can see things from different nation’s equipment and tactics and you are able to take the best parts and be able to do better work.”

Four U.S. Army medics and U.S. Navy Sailors are embarked aboard Navarinon, working closely with a combined Croatian and Greek boarding team to share best practices in medical casualty response and MIO training.

“[Exercises like these] builds a sense of community and interoperability,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Brendan Hummel, one of two Army medics aboard the Navarinon.

Phoenix Express is a U.S. Africa Command-sponsored exercise, now in its eighth year, is designed to improve cooperation and interdiction expertise among Europe, North African, and U.S. naval forces in order to increase maritime safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea.