The African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) is a five-phased program. The five phases of AMLEP are: Phase Zero – Legal Risk Assessments; Phase One – Training; Phase Two – Exercises; Phase Three – Operations; and Phase Four – Sustainment. This program enables African partner nations to build maritime security capacity and improve management of their maritime environment through real world combined maritime law enforcement operations.
Typically, the operational phase OPERATION JUNCTION RAIN (OJR), employs an African host nation’s own law enforcement boarding team, along with a U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement boarding team operating from a U.S. Navy or Partner Nation’s Maritime Asset. During this operation, the U.S. teams will act in an accompany, advise & assist role to the host nation’s teams while conducting “At-Sea” boardings. These boardings will consist of identifying a target of interest i.e. suspected vessel carrying narcotics; employ small boats with teams aboard; direct suspect vessel to stop; and boarding teams will embark vessel to investigate. During this inspection, the host nation teams will review documentation, search each compartment for suspected illicit activity, and enforce maritime law pertaining to the respective host nation’s authorities & jurisdiction.
AMLEP directly supports the AFRICOM’s Theater Campaign Plan’s Line of Effort 4, and the Intermediate Military Objective 4.3 (Interdicting Illicit Activities in the Gulf of Guinea). These illicit activities include human, weapons, and drug trafficking, maritime pollution, oil bunkering, piracy/kidnapping, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Many of these African coastal nations rely on fishing for food and as a significant contributor of revenue and jobs to local economies. IUU fishing, along with the other illicit activities that take place in African waters negatively impact the nation’s economy, and directly contributes to instability throughout the Gulf of Guinea region.
During OJR in 2016, U.S. / Host Nation’s law enforcement teams conducted 32 boardings which resulted in more than 50 maritime violations ($1.2 million in fines levied), and included the first ever opposed boarding take-down of the pirated tanker MAXIMUS where 18 crew member lives were saved. In 2017, OJR will continue leveraging U.S. law enforcement personnel embarked aboard Host Nation’s maritime assets, and operations will be conducted utilizing their platforms enforcing their maritime laws.