Yesterday (04 May 2021), the US Coast Guard (USCG) announced from Tunisia’s capital Tunis that it continues to build ties with the Tunisia Coast Guard – which shares the Mediterranen Dialogue Countries obligations.
On 25 April 2021, The Sentinel-class fast response cutters USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC 1141) and USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) departed Tunis after a routine logistics visit and PR engagements with Tunisian allies. This port visit marks the first USCG visit to Tunisia in more than 25 years and the cutters’ second stop en route to their new homeport of Manama, Bahrain. From there, the Charles Moulthrope and Robert Goldman will support the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. While it is currently in the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet area of responsibility, the two USCGC’s crews will support engagements with partner countries.
Moulthrope and Goldman Commanding Officers engaged with navy leadership, local dignitaries and conducted interoperability and familiarisation exercises with the Tunisian navy during the stop in Tunis. The USCG cooperation with Tunisia’s Coast Guard and Navy dates back More than two decades:
- in 1999 – with the deployment of USCGC Bear (WMEC 901) in operations with the Tunisian Navy and Royal Moroccan
- in 1995 – USCGC Dallas (WHEC 716) cooperation with Tunisian Navy counterparts to share best practices for responding to maritime issues and at-sea emergencies as well as ongoing international training efforts.
According to yesterday’s USCG release, the visit is a “continuation of our commitment to our Tunisian partners”, as the US continues to further strengthen its position in North Africa, expressing shared security goals between the US and Tunisian forces. A most recent example is the January 2021 joint maritime operations between Military Sealift Command Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport USNS Trenton (T EPF 5) and Tunisian navy partners. The excercise sought to improve Tunisia’s ability to protect its maritime borders, and enhance critical lifesaving and overall maritime security capabilities.
Note: the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet is headquartered in Naples, from where it conducts a range of joint operations with allied partners to advance US interests in Europe and Africa.