U.S. and Seychelles Militaries Partner for Maritime Training
U.S. service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and USS Halsey reviewed visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) tactics with Seychelles Coast Guard personnel at Seychelles Coast Guard headquarters on August 14, 2008.
U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Stuart Cravens, CJTF-HOA, said the Seychelles Coast Guard already has some experience with these procedures.
"The Seychelles Coast Guard does an excellent job of patrolling the Seychelles waters," said Cravens. "Most of the visit, board, search, and seizure they conduct is usually in a compliant situation, meaning the captain and crew of the vessels they board are not aggressive."
With malicious acts such as piracy on the rise, Cravens said the Seychelles Coast Guard members want to be prepared in case such an act is committed in Seychelles territory.
"The Seychelles Coast Guard expressed their concerns to CJTF-HOA about the need for training for non-compliant VBSS situations," said Cravens.
The training consisted of basic techniques of shipboard tactical movement, self-defense, searching and handcuffing procedures.
U.S. Navy Ensign Peter Schunk, USS Halsey, said training like this is essential for the Seychelles Coast Guard to build its own maritime security capacity. "VBSS is a mission Halsey is trained to execute," said Schunk. "It is important for the Seychelles Coast Guard to be ready to take control of the situation should a non-compliant boarding situation arise."
One of the challenges of the training was the short time period. U.S. Navy VBSS teams go through weeks of training. Schunk said it is up to members of the Seychelles Coast Guard to pass along what they have learned.
"It's my hope the Seychelles Coast Guard will continue to train in non-compliant VBSS procedures after we are gone," said Schunk. "A well-trained coast guard in Seychelles will not only benefit Seychellois, but will contribute to stability throughout the entire region."