SOUDA BAY, Greece (NNS) -- Multinational naval and coast guard representatives attended an opening ceremony to kick off the week-long training collaboration, Eurasia Partnership Capstone (EPC) 2012, in Souda Bay, Greece, Dec. 9.
Members of the Eurasian Partnership participate in events throughout the year, including diving exercises, ship rider exchanges, port visits, staff talks, and senior leader engagements. Eurasian Partnership Capstone is the culminating maritime event, which offers the participants an opportunity to work together in informal environments, such as seminars and workshops, with the aim of increasing maritime safety and security.
"It's a good opportunity to learn each countries culture and work experience," said Georgian coast guard Lt. j.g. Ekaterine Batsikadze. "We learn from the U.S., Bulgaria, and other nations here. The way the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy work together is our example and we take what we learn back to our coast guard."
Throughout the week, the multinational teams will attend workshops in security activities such as maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, and leadership development courses for non-commissioned officers that push the teams.
"We're used to a very specialized training but during [EPC 12] we will attend all of the seminars, not just the ones associated with our specific job and this will help us prepare for future events," said Ukrainian navy Cmdr. Roman Honcharenko.
During EPC 12, over 80 representatives from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Romania, Ukraine and the United States meet in non-formal environments, share information and develop productive relationships while working toward a common goal.
"We might not solve all the problems of maritime interoperability, but we will at least have a greater understanding of those challenges by the end of the week," said Lt. Joshua Aisen, director of the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Eurasia Partnership program.
Annually hosted by the U.S. Navy, EPC aims to increase maritime safety and security through open and transparent sharing of information in an informal environment such as workshops and seminars. Nations participating in EPC will include Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Greece, Ukraine and the United States.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.