Two officers from the Djiboutian Navy played a key role recently during a maritime security response exercise held in the Gulf of Aden.

Lt. Ahmed Mahmood Said and Lt. Aboubaker Abdi Mahamoud embarked U.S. warships USS Donald Cook and USS Truxton as specialist local advisors, who were vital in providing expert advice on boarding teams on local fishing patterns, customs and concerns.  USS Donald Cook, USS Truxton and the Australian warship, HMAS Parramatta, exercised their ability to react to a maritime attack.  The exercise also provided the participants the opportunity to speak with local fishermen, as well as offering them food, water and medical supplies.

The ships were assigned to Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150), part of the 25-nation Combined Maritime Forces, that conducts maritime security, counter terrorist and counter narcotic smuggling patrols in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.  CTF 150 is currently lead by the UK, and is headquarter in Bahrain.

Lt. George Blakeman, Royal Navy, a CTF 150 liaison officer embarked aboard USS Truxton said:

Lt Blakeman briefs the Boarding Team of USS Truxton prior to investigating a local fishing Dhow.

“The involvement of these two Djiboutian officers was invaluable.  It was vital that our ships spent time in the area getting to know the local fishermen and mariners, to gain their trust and build a rapport with them.  With their help, we have now been able to explain the hard work that CTF-150 and regional partners, such as Djibouti are doing to protect them and their livelihoods.”
Of his involvement in the exercise, Mahamoud said:

“I have enjoyed greatly my time onboard the USS Truxton.  It has been a good experience working with CTF-150 and I am sure that the Djiboutian Navy will maintain this close working relationship for the benefit of our fishing and maritime community.”

The boarding team of USS Truxton encounter a local fishing Dhow off the coast of Djibouti. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tony D. Curtis/Released)

Commander Ferguson USN, Commanding Officer of USS TRUXTON commented:

“This exercise proved to be an excellent opportunity to further strengthen international maritime security efforts in the Gulf of Aden though direct contact with local mariners and fishermen.  Further enhancing the operation was the embarkation of a Djiboution Naval Officer whose local knowledge greatly enhanced Truxtun’s awareness and understanding of routine maritime activity in the Western Gulf of Aden.  I look forward to continued operational success with Djibouti and our regional Allies.”

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