PORT LOUIS, Mauritius — The President of Mauritius, Kailash Purryag, visited the guided-missile frigate USS Simpson (FFG 56), while it’s moored in Port Louis, Mauritius taking part in Exercise Cutlass Express 2015, Feb. 3.
During this exercise, U.S. and 12 East Africa partner nations simulated finding and combatting piracy as well as other illicit activity. It incorporated multilateral land, air and sea forces working together to improve regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness and information sharing practices to increase capabilities of East African and Indian Ocean nations to counter sea-based illicit activity.
The exercise’s focus on fighting this activity that’s currently harming East Africa hit close to home for Mauritius and its president.
“It is important for us to partner with other countries in the region for this exercise of maritime security,” said Purryag. “Recently you had a huge threat of piracy in this part of the world and that was impacting the lives of people, the cost of living was going up. Seychelles, Mauritius and other regional countries felt the pinch.
“Fortunately with the help of the United States, the European Union, India and other friendly countries we have been able to bring down the frequency of piracy in this part of the world and today we feel safe and that is very important for us,” he said.
Purryag toured the vessel and met with exercise personnel, including Vice Adm. Tom Reck, U.S. Sixth Fleet vice commander. Reck believes that these exercises like Cutlass Express are important because they foster relationships at all levels, and help forge and maintain a Global Network of Navies.
“It’s all about relationships, not only at the senior officer level, but at the junior officer and enlisted level, because these are the people in the future that we’ll be fighting next to and fighting with,” said Reck. “So it’s important we establish these relationships early in one’s career and we revisit often.”
USS Simpson, homeported in Mayport, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. This is Simpson’s final deployment and will be decommissioning later this year.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.