Combined Task Force 152 (CTF152) recently conducted Search and Rescue (SAR), Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and First Aid training in the Gulf. The training consisted of both in port and at sea training. It was designed to enhance interoperability between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations and wider maritime forces in the region, any of whom could be called upon to help should a SOLAS event occur for real.

Assisted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and United States Navy (USN), CTF152 delivered classroom training in Search Patterns and First Aid, and then undertook a series of realistic Man Overboard (MOB) exercises at sea. The exercise scenarios were deliberately left open to interpretation so that participants could put into practice the skills they had learnt in the classroom in a realistic environment.

Bahrain Navy Ship Abdul Rahman Al Fahdeel taking part in exercise Falcon Response

Lieutenant Jon Maumy, Royal Navy, who was responsible for planning the exercise, said: “I was highly impressed with the ability of all the participants to grasp the principles of the training and react in a swift and decisive manner. We trained with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, all of whom coordinated with United States assets in order to achieve their mission.”

Sailors recover a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage as part of Exercise Falcon Response

The exercise also tested the Command and Control of CTF152 and regional Navies, often delivered by Battlewatch Captains tracking operations from their watch floors. Lt Will Barrowclough, Royal Navy, the Operations and Training Officer for CTF152, said: “It is vital that all members of the international community react quickly and focus their efforts in these situations. I was able to train both existing and new Battlewatch Captains in the vital role they play in resolving SOLAS incidents.”

The exercise at sea involved participation from USS Ramage, USCGC Monomoy, Kuwait Navy Ship Ouha, Saudi Coast Guard Vessel Badr and Bahrain Navy Ship Abdul Rahman Al Fahdeel. CTF 152, part of the 30 nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) organisation, is committed to engaging with GCC countries and the wider maritime community in order to build interoperability and improve SOLAS within the Gulf.