LUQA, Malta - More than 100 multinational naval and coast guard representatives participate in a series of workshops at the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) headquarters, Luqa Barracks, Malta, beginning Dec. 4, to kick off the week-long Eurasia Partnership Capstone (EPC) 2011.
EPC 2011 is an annual maritime conference focused on working together in non-formal environments, such as seminars and workshops, aimed at increasing maritime safety and security. The goal of EPC 2011 this year is to spark collaboration to improve maritime security through its training workshops, that range from maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, marine environmental protection, leadership development courses for noncommissioned officers and, for the first time during EPC, advanced network-enabled maritime interdiction operations (MIO).
EPC 2011 is co-hosted by the Commander, Armed Forces of Malta and Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, and is being held in Malta for the second time.
"This is our second time hosting EPC in Malta, and it is something we do happily," said Maltese Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Mallia, staff officer for maritime operations at HQ AFM. "Regardless of where our countries are, and regardless of how large or small our navies are, many of the challenges we are facing today are the same." Malta was again chosen to host this year's event because of its strategic position, which encourages the participation of all regional partners
Participants for EPC 2011 include approximately 100 representatives from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Malta, Romania, Ukraine and the United States, who will focus on strengthening maritime relationships between Eurasian nations.
"At the end of the day, we all want the same thing: a safer, more secure world for our families and friends," said U.S. Coast Guard Captain Brian Lisko, senior representative from the staff of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, and Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet. "EPC 2011 will consist of a comprehensive, robust and challenging agenda which will provide participants with numerous opportunities to operate together and develop productive relationships."
The AFM are hosting the famous training workshops at its Maritime Safety and Security Training Center (MSSTC), and said that Malta has served as the crossroads for numerous maritime forces and merchantmen throughout history. AFM says the MSSTC relies confidently on the wealth of knowledge its AFM instructors have gained through advanced training, and their many years of operational duties. The center shares the same goals as Eurasia Partnership Capstone, which are to develop trust and cooperation among the participants and to promote regional maritime security. More than 300 students from 28 different countries have graduated at MSSTC since its establishment in 2003.
While continuing to advance the event's traditional objectives, EPC 2011 poses a comprehensive, robust and challenging agenda that will provide participants with numerous opportunities to operate together, besides developing and deepening productive relationships between Eurasian nations, and sparking engagement to improve interoperability between partner Navies and Coast Guards.