SOUDA BAY, Greece – The multinational training exercise EPC 2012 concluded during a ceremony held at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Center, Dec. 14.
During the weeklong exercise, more than 80 representatives from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Romania, Ukraine and the United States conducted a variety of shipboard exercises and classroom training including environmental protection, maritime law, non-commissioned officer leadership courses, boarding training and applying NATO techniques to maritime interdiction operations (MIO).
“I like the way the people come here and share their national habits, procedures, and tactics about maritime interdiction operations,” said Hellenic navy Ensign Alexander Tsaltas. “What we’re trying to do is gather all the different techniques and procedures from all the nations and build up the most efficient way to conduct these operations.”
EPC is an effective tool for enhancing relationships between partner nations throughout the Black Sea region and focuses on building strategic partnerships for future MIO.
“The Black Sea is a region of critical importance in terms of trafficking and illicit substances,” said Lt. Joshua Aisen, director of Eurasia Partnership program.
Aisen also said the U.S. routinely conducts port visits in the Black Sea throughout the year with partner nations to help maintain stability in the region.
Annually hosted by the U.S. Navy, EPC aims to increase maritime safety and security through open and transparent sharing of information in an informal environment such as workshops and seminars. Nations participating in EPC will include Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Greece, Ukraine and the United States.