GALAPEX-II 2023 exercise concluded

(To Marina Militare)

The multinational high seas police exercise for the control of illegal unreported and unregulated fishing in the Pacific Ocean, GALAPEX II, held in Ecuador from 17 to 30 September 2023, has concluded.

The exercise, organized by the Navy of Ecuador (Armada de Ecuador), was attended by the Navy with one of its representatives, and the personnel and naval and air assets of the: US Navy, Royal Navy, Marine Nationale, and navies of Peru, Panama, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia as well as representatives of the European Union.

The extensive use of the European Union's IORIS (Indo-Pacific Regional Information Sharing) platform allowed a continuous exchange of information between the participating entities, guaranteeing the success of the exercise. To date, the platform has more than 55 active users between countries and regional maritime agencies.

Galapex-II is a multinational exercise organized by the Navy of Ecuador (Armada de Ecuador) focused on combating illegal unreported and unregulated fishing (Illegal Unreported & Unregulated Fishing - IUU) in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ - national competence) of country and in the stretch of high seas established by the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO – multinational regional agreement) convention of which the European Union is a signatory.

The exercise was managed by the Maritime Operations Center (MOC) in Salinas using mainly the ORION Command, Control and Communication (C3) System of Astinave (Astilleros Navales Ecuatorianos), the European Union Indo Pacific Regional Information Sharing (IORIS) platform ) in training mode and the Canadian Dark Vessel Detection (DVD) platform with satellite detection capability of light and electromagnetic emissions in the area of ​​interest. The French system is also occasionally monitored in the MOC Collect Localization Satellites (CLS) and the American Sea Vision.

The aim of the exercise is to maximize the interoperability of the air and maritime forces of the participating countries, develop doctrine and create common technical tactics and procedures (TTPs) in order to conduct an effective action to combat the phenomenon of illegal fishing with a force multinational. The prevalent serial training activities are boardings on the high seas (High Seas Boarding Inspections – HSBI).

For exercise purposes, a fictitious escalatory scenario was created with clear geographical references to the EEZ of Ecuador around the Galapagos Islands (Islas Piqueros for the scenario) and to the identity of the main actors involved (Ecuador – Blue Country; China – Yellow Country; Peru – Orange Country; Colombia – Green Country).
The scenario develops with the creation of a multinational maritime force (MMF) following the issuance of a United Nations (UN) resolution to combat IUU perpetrated in the vicinity of Blue's EEZ by Yellow's fishing fleet.

The exercise is divided into three phases: Port Phase, Work Up Phase e Scenario Phase. The first two phases consist of serial activities with few injections that allow the scenario to evolve. The last phase is a free scheme with a scenario that evolves based on the injections of the White Cell testing the decision-making and Command and Control skills of the commander and his staff.

The IUU issue is of particular relevance for the coastal countries of South America bordering the Pacific Ocean. In the vast area sanctioned by the SPRFMO convention, numerous vessels operate, flying the Chinese flag (a signatory country of the SPRFMO), dedicated to indiscriminate and massive fishing that plunder the Pacific Ocean of fish resources without respecting any criteria of ecological sustainability for sedentary and migratory marine species .