NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN – Commander, Task Force 56 (CTF-56) Sailors trained crew members assigned to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) frigate HMAS Newcastle (FFG 06) on Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) procedures at Mina Salmon Pier, July 23.
VBSS procedures include maritime boarding actions and tactics used to capture enemy vessels and to combat terrorism, piracy and smuggling operations.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Bird said this training is very beneficial for the interoperability between the U.S. Navy and Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
‚ÄúI think that this is a great partnership that we have going on,‚Äù said Bird. ‚ÄúThis kind of training helps to bring our nations together and definitely contributes to building a stronger relationship with our Australian partners.‚Äù
Newcastle sailors trained on clearing and entering rooms, as well as developing communication skills used when encountering vessel crews. Teams were also trained on ways to gain access to compartment spaces without a show of lethal force and how to obtain usable and accurate information from vessels they board.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the small things that we picked up on,‚Äù said Petty Officer David Macleod, Newcastle‚Äôs training petty officer. ‚ÄúWe are both working for a common goal and moving in the same direction. This training has allowed us to pick up different skills that we can use in the future; it gives us a better understanding of different ways of doing business.‚Äù
Newcastle is part of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), a multinational command team established in January 2009 to deter, disrupt and maintain counter piracy operations. The task force conducts counter piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Command of CTF-151 rotates through participatory nations of CMF every four to six months. Newcastle is on a regularly scheduled deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR).
The U.S. 5th Fleet AOR encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea as well as 20 countries.