Canadian and Australian members from CTF-150 Contribute to Seychelles Capacity-Building Initiative to Enhance Regional Maritime Security

Canadian and Australian members from CTF-150 Contribute to Seychelles Capacity-Building Initiative to Enhance Regional Maritime Security

Canadian and Australian staff from the multinational Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) deployed to the Republic of Seychelles from May 1-14, 2021 to provide training assistance to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

Commodore Daniel Charlebois, of the Royal Canadian Navy and current Commander of CTF-150, poses with students on the UNODC VVBS Capacity Building Course in Victoria, Seychelles on 6 May, 2021. (Photo credit: Lieutenant (Navy) Rob MacDonald, RCN, Regional Capacity Building Officer, Operation ARTEMIS).

Their goal was to help build the capacity of regional partners in maritime security operations. 

The training involved participants from four nations – Comoros, Kenya, Tanzania, and Seychelles – who took part in both practical and theoretical courses related to Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) as well as Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). The courses included search techniques, legal briefings, equipment and weapons handling, operational planning, safety procedures, practical exercises, and a swimming assessment. 

In Victoria, Seychelles, UNODC VBSS Students take turns bracing and climbing the ladder prior to a Dhow Boarding Practice session the next day on 10 May, 2021. (Photo credit: Lieutenant (Navy) Rob MacDonald, RCN, Regional Capacity Building Officer, Operation ARTEMIS).
A UNODC VBSS student practices boarding procedures aboard a practice-dhow in Victoria Harbour, Seychelles, on 6 May, 2021. (Photo credit: Lieutenant (Navy) Rob MacDonald, RCN, Regional Capacity Building Officer, Operation ARTEMIS).

Through their enhanced knowledge and practical training, recipients will be better positioned to contribute to enhanced maritime security and safety of navigation in the East African regional waters. 

This is the first time that the multinational task force contributes to a UNODC-led capacity-building initiative in the region. 

Operating under Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a partnership of 34 nations based in Bahrain, CTF-150 works to disrupt terrorist and criminal organizations by countering the smuggling of narcotics and other illicit goods that fund their activities. This complex mission starts with the identification of potential smugglers and finishes with the boarding and seizure of illicit cargoes at sea. These multifaceted maritime operations require an advanced knowledge of boarding operations procedures and applicable legal framework. 

By increasing the capacity of regional partners to operate at sea, this type of training is critical to assist regional partner nations in addressing maritime security threats. 

A Seychelles Coast Guard patrol boat is used to transport UNODC VBSS students to their final boarding

“Capacity building is a vital strand of CMF activity; we are working in concert with partner nations and organizations to enhance maritime security in our region,” said Deputy Commander of CMF, Commodore Ed Ahlgren of the Royal Navy. 

CTF-150’s contribution to the UNODC-led initiative in the Seychelles will help inform CMF’s future efforts in this area as the coalition seeks to better enable the ability of regional partners to contribute to enhancing maritime security which, in an area covering about 3.4 million nautical miles, is truly a team effort.

The CTF-150 mentoring staff comprised LCdr Amy Beal of the Royal Australian Navy, LCdr Kevin Hastey of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Maj Angela Orme of the Canadian Army. Australia and Canada contribute to CTF-150 through Operation MANITOU and Operation ARTEMIS, respectively, under the leadership of Commodore Daniel Charlebois of the RCN until July 2021.

VBSS students pose with their instructors from both CTF-150 and the UNODC, after having earned their graduation certificates from the VBSS course on 14 May, 2021 in Victoria, Seychelles. (Photo credit: Lieutenant (Navy) Rob MacDonald, RCN, Regional Capacity Building Officer, Operation ARTEMIS).
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