RCN officer at CUTLASS EXPRESS 2018

Lt(N) Ted Marr , one of the RCN advisors sent to CUTLASS EXPRESS 18, presents information on maritime security concepts and awareness to personnel from the Mozambique and Tanzanian Maritime Operations Centres.
Photo: submitted

 RCN officer represents RCN in Tanzania during CUTLASS EXPRESS

By Lt(N) Linda Coleman,

Lt(N) Ted Marr was ecstatic when he learned he would be traveling to Tanzania for CUTLASS EXPRESS 2018 (CE18).

“I was excited that I was selected to go. Within the last 12 months I sailed on Neptune Trident 17-01 to West Africa, acted as head of the Canadian delegation to UNITAS PACIFICO while embarked in BAP Quinones in Peru, and sailed on my fourth Op CARIBBE. I was excited I would again have the opportunity to represent Canada in another global engagement mission,” said Lt(N) Marr upon arrival on a hot and humid day in Dar es Salaam.

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) sent advisors to the east coast of Africa in late January to participate in CE18. RCN contribution to CE18 includes strategic engagements with Mozambique and Tanzania to promote maritime security capacity building.

Lt(N) Marr, along with CPO2 Dale Yerardi, are located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, while I and LCdr Paul Smith, senior RCN chief assessor for CE18, are located in Maputo, Mozambique. Both teams are there to provide the Mozambique and Tanzanian Maritime Operations Centres with new ideas and ways they could apply modern maritime security concepts, while supporting and providing mentorship on maritime security awareness, passing on Canadian expertise in this field.

“These global leadership opportunities provide us with a chance to demonstrate to our partner nations our readiness to effectively respond to a range of complex security threats at home and abroad,” said LCdr Smith.

In Tanzania, the participants represented all the major players for maritime security including the Tanzanian People’s Defence Force, The Tanzanian Maritime Police, the International Maritime Organization, Tanzanian Maritime Coordination Centre, and the Dar es Salaam harbour authority.

“We’re being graciously hosted in the Dar es Salaam Maritime Institute, which is a civilian organization responsible for the training and certification of Tanzania’s mariners. I was pleasantly surprised of the already strong joint operations and coordination in place in Tanzania with the major players,” said Lt(N) Marr half way through the week of capacity building sessions. “The students are excited to learn. Nearly all of them took meticulous notes during the day’s lectures. Some of the Tanzanian naval officers attending the training had served with RCN personnel in UN peace support operations, and were happy to again be working with Canada and the RCN.”

Originally from Monroe, Connecticut, Lt(N) Marr joined the RCN in 2009. Born to a Canadian mother from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Lt(N) Marr holds dual citizenship. It was his attendance at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, and a friend who convinced him to join the local Naval Reserve Division that led to where he is today. Realizing he wanted to be a mariner in a professional environment while serving his country, he chose the RCN based on his strong connection to Canada and his positive experience with the Naval Reserve. “I pride myself on the high level of professionalism from my co-workers,” added Lt(N) Marr when asked why he joined the RCN. “My job has taken me all over the world. I have seen and done so much in the short time I have been in the RCN. I feel extremely fortunate.”

After a few days on the ground, Lt(N) Marr admitted that he was certainly less nervous than his first trip to Africa because he felt like he had an idea of what to expect. “I also discovered that Tanzania is a very safe and stable country. I must say that the experience overall has been excellent.”

RCN contribution to CE18 concludes on February 9, and all four RCN members who attended will no doubt return to Canada with not only a better understanding of maritime security and awareness in East Africa, but also with a personally and culturally rewarding experience of a lifetime.

Conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, CE18 aims to assess and improve maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security in eastern Africa, inform planning and operations, and shape security force assistance efforts. The United States African Command sponsors the Express series of engagements which also includes CUTLASS, OBANGAME, and PHOENIX. HMC Ships Kingston and Summerside, a detachment of personnel from the Maritime Tactical Operations Group (MTOG), and a Maritime Operations Centre mentorship team will also be participating in Obangame Express 2018 later this winter.