United States Coast Guard and Iraqi Offshore Patrol Vessel conduct PASSEX

On 27th September the US Coast Guard Island-class patrol cutters USCGC Maui and USCGC Wrangell and the Iraqi Navy Al Basra-class offshore patrol vessel Al Basra conducted a series of maneuvering serials and personnel exchanges between vessels known as a PASSEX.

Once radio communication was established, the three ships practiced maneuvering together before the boarding exchange took place.

The commanding officer, Lt Cdr Alaaaldeen Abas kasim, whose ship is part of Combined Task Force 152 of Combined Maritime Forces, welcomed a US boarding team on board Al Basra and had arranged for them to have a tour of the his vessel before discussing operating in the Gulf and the opportunity for future training.

A PASSEX is practiced to allow navies the chance to test and prove their ability to communicate and co-operate in peacetime in order to ensure operational effectiveness and interoperability in times of tension. The exercise helps build an understanding of each ship’s capabilities, practices, and procedures to further enable the interoperability of coalition forces in the region.

Wrangell Executive Officer Lt Oliver Cole said, “When we boarded the Iraqi vessel, we were received extremely well. They were really happy to have us and really friendly.”

This PASSEX allowed Iraqi and American sailors the opportunity to share and learn from each other’s pre-planned responses with regard to Maritime Security Operations (MSO). Wrangell’s Commanding Officer, Lt. Nicholas Forni said, “conducting a PASSEX furthers our strong partnerships with coalition forces operations in the Arabian Gulf. It benefits both forces because it affords our service members the opportunity to learn and work with coalition partners.”

Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 co-ordinates Maritime Security Operations in one of the most significant and geographically constrained regions in the world. Its presence as part of Combined Maritime Forces helps to provide security and stability to the region through consistent interaction with local fishermen, merchant vessels, and of course, its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners.