By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Victoria E. Kinney, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs
| July 31, 2016
Coast Guardsman assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia’s (PATFORSWA) maritime engagement team conduct close quarters combat training with British Royal Navy Sailors assigned to the Royal Navy Frigate HMS Portland (F79) in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. The U.S. 5th Fleet compliments the counterterrorism activities of regional navies and coast guards through exercises, training and coordinated operations. (U.S. Navy Combat Camera photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey/Released) (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey)
MANAMA, Bahrain - The U.S. Coast Guard Patrol Force Southwest Asia Coast Guard’s (PATFORSWA) Maritime Engagement Team (MET) and the U.K. Royal Navy from HMS Portland (FS 79) conducted a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercise at a training site which included a Ship-in-the-Box (SIB) and a dhow facility aboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain, July 26- 27.
The MET-led engagement focuses on sharing best practices, improving joint interoperability and developing common skills that strengthen maritime security across all forces in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
“These engagements serve as a baseline to ensure that the United States and our partner nation naval forces are trained, organized, and equipped to support U.S. Central Command, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, and national security objectives,” said Commander of PATFORSWA, Capt. James Driscoll. “They further encourage interoperability between partner nations and ensure that the predominant trends in smuggling are disseminated to all cooperating forces.”
The MET facilities provide an immersive simulation of a reproduction of an offshore VBSS situation for U.S. and partner nations to utilize for effective cross-force training. The SIB facility, where over 100 engagements in the last six years have been conducted, is a three-storied, 3000-square foot training facility used to develop close-quarter techniques. The dhow facility is a 60-foot dhow replicate with over 20 hidden compartments used to train personnel with a realistic approach to VBSS operations.
“I am sure our relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard will go from strength to strength in the future, helping to ensure the high seas remain a safe environment for legitimate maritime activity and the unhindered passage of commerce on which the global economy depends,” said HMS Portland Commanding Officer Captain Paul Stroude.
MET was originally established as the Middle East Training Team in 2005. The exchange of information has evolved since then to become more mission compatible and reflect the current trends required to remain proficient at the VBSS mission. MET does this through security cooperation engagement on maritime law enforcement techniques with partner forces.
PATFORSWA’s mission is to command, train, equip, and provide mission ready Coast Guard forces to conduct maritime security operations in U.S. Central Command's (CENTCOM) area of responsibility.