French frigate FS Dupleix (D641) recently completed two days of maritime security training with Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
The programme involved classroom lectures on boarding techniques, alongside live role plays and practical boarding scenarios, courtesy of the U.S. Coastguard detachment in Bahrain.
Experts from the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) were on hand to advise on evidence gathering and handling methods, whilst CMF’s legal team delivered a brief on the complex considerations relating to international maritime law. There were also talks on human factors, such as cultural considerations, conversational skills, body language and deceptive behaviour.
Maritime Security Operations (MSO) are undertaken by CMF’s three task forces. Approach and Assist Visits form a key part of ongoing effort to provide assistance to the maritime community and to deter illegal activity, whilst Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) is the procedure by which CMF warships inspect merchant vessels suspected of engaging in illegal activities, such as piracy, smuggling and terrorism.
In order to prepare CMF warships for these tasks, CMF headquarters conduct regular training sessions in Maritime Intelligence Collection and Exploitation, or MICE for short. HMAS Melbourne (Australia) and TCG Gokceada (Turkey), together with members of the Kuwaiti Coastguard, are among other recent beneficiaries.
Captain Chris Chambers, the CMF Chief of Staff said, “Our training session is designed to provide an overview of some of the main techniques and methods that are used as part of day-to-day maritime security operations. We want to ensure that CMF navies and regional partners can effectively interact with each other to ensure safe passage for merchant vessels and security on the high seas.”
Cdr Rodolphe Agelou of the Marine Nationale is the senior French naval representative at CMF Headquarters. He said, “FS Dupleix is in the region to conduct counter-piracy and maritime security operations with Combined Maritime Forces. Freedom and security at sea is a priority for France and for the international community. CMF enables us to work in partnership toward this common aim, thereby achieving more together than any single nation or navy could do alone.”
Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) is a unique naval coalition, dedicated to promoting security and prosperity across some 2.5 million square miles (6.5 square kilometres) of international waters in the Middle East. CMF’s main focus areas are defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities, and promoting a safe maritime environment.