Khalid was a member of the Moroccan team that conducted interdiction and
search missions as part of Phoenix Express. He said the classroom
instruction, which stressed the psychological factors in the boarding of a
suspected insurgency or smuggling vessel, would be vital in actual
"This class will help us to pay better attention to detail during our
training at PE-11, and during actual missions in the future," Khalid said.
Phoenix Express was designed to enhance maritime interoperability among
the 13 participating countries, including Morocco. The exercise was divided
into phases that focused on port and training.
The three-week exercise, which began in late May, included members of
the U.S. Navy's visit, board, search and seizure team of the USS Bradley.
Trainers taught Moroccans and other participants methods to reduce stress
and focus on teamwork during an interception operation.
"A boarding member who is overstressed or fearful of the mission will
spread that anxiety to the crew of the suspected vessel, and that can be
very problematic," Greek Maj. Konstantine Liolios, one of the trainers,
Morocco has been a member of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, which over
the last two years worked to enhance maritime security in the
region. Officials said Morocco and other North African states have been
urged to join NATO's Operation Active Endeavor, which targets insurgency and
weapons smuggling ships in the Mediterranean.