Head of Merchant Marine Academy visits U.S. 5th Fleet

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dawson Roth | October 28, 2019

MANAMA, Bahrain --

Rear Adm. Jack Buono, superintendent of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy visited Naval Support Activity Bahrain and the Naval Coordination and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) facilities, Oct. 23.

During his tour of NCAGS Buono met with Sailors, merchant mariners and Coast Guardsmen and talked about the importance of keeping a working relationship with merchant vessels.

After touring the NCAGS facilities Buono pinned two merchant mariners with their Strategic Sealift Officer Warfare Insignia.

Buono also highlighted the excellent performance of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) NCAGS and their importance to the regional mission.

“I am very impressed with the work the NCAGS team is doing in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility,” said Buono. “Their work has been critical to the success of the International Maritime Security Construct, which is now so critical to regional security and global commerce. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is pleased to support these efforts.”

Buono said that as he shapes and molds the future leaders of the Merchant Marine- he is confident they will have the tools to continue to have a demonstrable impact on the mission.

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) NCAGS was established over a decade ago and has worked closely with the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy MTO officers in the United Kingdom Maritime Component Command co-located at Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

“With a surge of manpower from the U.S. Navy Reserve’s Strategic Sealift Officer Reserve Force, NAVCENT NCAGS has rapidly evolved from a small cadre of merchant marine advisors to a robust commercial maritime domain awareness watch team providing 24-hour monitoring of and communication with commercial shipping in the region,” said Capt. Charles McDermott, USMMA Marine Transportation professor and NAVCENT NCAGS officer in charge.

NAVCENT NCAGS and UKMTO have built the foundation of Operation Sentinel’s merchant ship reporting procedures and that makes them critical to the success of the operation.

“We have also increased our interaction and information sharing with partner nations’ NCAGS and Maritime Trade Operations (MTO) organizations across the region to dramatically improve the commander’s operational picture.”

U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.