Djiboutian, US Navies Practice Maritime VBSS Operations
Djiboutian naval personnel and sailors from three U.S. Navy organizations participated in Visit, Board, Search and Seizure training here May 7-31.
This reflected a joint venture with the Djiboutian navy, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, U.S. Naval Forces Africa and Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command - Security Force Assistance section, and was sponsored by Africa Partnership Station, said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Smiley, CJTF-HOA maritime coordination officer to the Djiboutian navy.
"This event, specifically, is a great example of CJTF-HOA, NAVAF and the MCAST working to bring together resources, expertise and the relationships to work with the Djibouti navy to build 'visit, board, search and seizure' capacity," said Smiley.
The training provided a combination of lecture and hands-on application in three areas: armed sentry level 1, boarding team operations and boarding officer training. The armed sentry portion covered topics such as weapons handling, searching and detaining personnel, while boarding team operations reviewed methods for boarding and searching a vessel at sea to enforce sanctions or look for contraband. The boarding officer course included information on international maritime laws surrounding interception, boarding and searching a vessel as well as inspecting cargo and verifying documentation.
"This is something that will help them in maintaining maritime security and stability within their own region and within their own country," said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class John Brooks, MCAST mobile training team lead instructor and master-at-arms.
Eleven Djiboutians and six U.S. personnel ran through VBSS scenarios on the French navy landing craft La Dague, highlighting the cooperation between coalition partners and the Djiboutian military.
"We benefited from the French and the American navies," said Djiboutian navy Master Ahmed Elmi Chirdon, team leader for the Djiboutian participants. "We also learned a lot of things from the U.S. Navy during this training. This is the first time I've participated in training like this."
The interactions between the U.S. and Djiboutian participants also allowed for better partnerships since it provided insight into how both navies operate, said U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Kasenberg, MCAST mobile training team officer in charge.
"This has been very enlightening. Their navy is small… but they're pretty organized and have a good infrastructure," said Kasenberg.
He also noted the enthusiasm the Djiboutians displayed when practicing the tactics provided by the MCAST team members.
"It's been very rewarding to see how eager they were to apply these skills," said Kasenberg.
Ahmed also noted another important aspect of the interaction between the Djiboutian and U.S. navies.
"It's very important socially too because we make new friends," said Ahmed about his U.S. Navy counterparts. "This is a very good thing because we can become a little more familiar with each other."