Their main mission: conduct multi-national maritime security training and missions, including Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) guidance, in order to build the capacity of the host nations to strengthen their regional maritime security so they can control their territorial waters and help partner nations crack down on illicit trafficking and other criminal activity.
There, Simpson completed three major multi-national training exercises: Obangame Express in the Gulf of Guinea, Saharan Express in West Africa and Phoenix Express in the Mediterranean Sea. The main goal of these exercises was enhancing proficiency of the partner nations in areas such as conducting at-sea boardings of fishing vessels.
Simpson also participated in African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) missions with Cape Verde, Senegal, and The Gambia. During these missions, the ship covered 153,600 square nautical miles with the crew completing dozens of boardings resulting in $900,000+ in fines, the seizing of 5 vessels and 310 tons of illegal catch and 22 arrests.
The officers and crew of Simpson worked together with partners ashore as well. In Souda Bay, Crete, the ship’s VBSS’ team supported a 10-day land-based training of boarding techniques with several nations at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Center before departing to participate in the multi-national exercise Phoenix Express which included 5 days of boardings.
Additionally, Simpson volunteered for 5 community relations projects in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Cape Verde.