U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa is facilitating a two-week workshop beginning Dec. 2 with Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) coastal nations in order to strengthen the abilities and develop standard operating procedures for maritime operations centers (MOCs).
The workshop, the first of its kind, is being facilitated under the long-running theater security cooperation initiative Africa Partnership Station (APS). U.S. Navy personnel will participate alongside maritime professionals from Cameroon, Gabon and the Republic of Congo to sharpen command and control techniques and collaborate in formulating doctrine and protocol for MOCs to follow.
The overall goal of the workshop is to enhance each nation’s maritime operations center’s ability to detect suspect vessels, share information, and coordinate with the appropriate multinational maritime asset to respond.
“This workshop is one way APS, along with our international partners, are supporting the regional efforts of African organizations and improving maritime security,” said Byron Smith, Africa Engagement Group director for U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa. “Establishing procedures that are common to all is a key stepping stone in the ability of ECCAS maritime forces to cohesively work together to ensure maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.”
ECCAS’ Zone D Multinational Coordination Center, based in Doula, Cameroon, is hosting the workshop. Zone D is a maritime sector established to foster cooperation and unity of effort across the economic exclusion zones that stretch from Cameroon to Gabon, including waters surrounding Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe.
While not a part of ECCAS’ Zone D, Republic of Congo’s participation symbolizes the overarching goal of the workshop and APS to increase regional cooperation.
APS, established in 2007, is a collaborative international security cooperation initiative aimed at improving maritime safety and security in the waters surrounding Africa by developing African maritime forces’ information sharing practices, response capabilities, and regional interoperability.