Sunday, December 31, 2006
USS Comstock (LSD 45) and HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341) conducted visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training while operating in the Persian Gulf. The training was held to improve the boarding capabilities of both ships by sharing skills and knowledge. Coalition forces conduct boardings as part of Maritime Security Operations to help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.
USS Comstock (LSD 45)"We were given the details of the exercise with only a few hours to put together a full plan, much like it would be in the real situation," said Ens. John Buttler, Comstock's VBSS officer in charge. "The team executed beautifully." Sailors from each ship had the opportunity to board the other vessel to challenge their skills. At the conclusion of the training Sailors from both ships gathered to go over the lessons they learned from the experience. "The Canadians offered invaluable information about their training and their experiences dealing with noncompliant vessels in the region," added Buttler. HMCS Ottawa (FFH 341)Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility encompasses about 7.5 million square miles and includes the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 27 countries, 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.