Jordan makes for new friends and new skills

Published on LEUT David Osborne and SBLT Matthew Stobo (author), POIS Phil Cullinan (author)

Location(s): Aqaba, Jordan

Topic(s): Operation SLIPPER, HMAS Newcastle (F06)

Dive team members from HMAS Newcastle and the Royal Jordanian Naval Force pose under water after defeating a simulated mine threat as part of combined Explosive Ordnance Disposal training in Aqaba, Jordan.  (photo: POCD Joshua Drennan)
Dive team members from HMAS Newcastle and the Royal Jordanian Naval Force pose under water after defeating a simulated mine threat as part of combined Explosive Ordnance Disposal training in Aqaba, Jordan.

HMAS Newcastle’s ship’s company participated in joint training exercises in both Boarding Party, diving and damage control with the Royal Jordanian Naval Force (RJNF) alongside Aqaba, Jordan.

Able Seaman Marine Technician (ABMT) Blake Wade, one of Newcastle’s boarding party and a role player in the exercise in early September, said the Jordanians demonstrated strong skills in the boarding and securing of a target vessel.

“They demonstrated the need for fast movement through the vessel, tactical entry into unknown spaces and rapid domination to subdue would-be assailants,” ABMT Wade said.

The Jordanian Boarding Party had recently conducted training with the US Navy at the same training facility Newcastle used in her recent visit to Bahrain.  

“They moved through the ship quickly, weapons up and it was very intimidating. Before I knew it they had disarmed me.”

It was then Newcastle’s turn to strut the skills they had honed in theatre in more than 130 boarding actions. The Australians and Jordanians later combined to cooperatively conduct a boarding.

Able Seaman Boatswain’s Mate Martin Reay said it was an effective way of proving the training both teams received was of a high standard and showed the flexibility both teams possess to allow them to work interactively together in a coalition.

“The Jordanians’ skills are obviously first class. They were well trained, well prepared and well equipped,” ABBM Reay said.

“They really impressed us with the speed with which they executed the boarding and with their team work.”

Members of the HMAS Newcastle Boarding Party pose with members of the coalition Jordanian Naval Force Boarding Party prior to commencing combined training at the Jordanian Naval Base in Aqaba, Jordan.

Members of the HMAS Newcastle Boarding Party pose with members of the coalition Jordanian Naval Force Boarding Party prior to commencing combined training at the Jordanian Naval Base in Aqaba, Jordan.

Meanwhile back on board, members of Newcastle’s Damage Control Instructors put on a tour and training opportunity for other RJNF sailors.

The guests were all recently graduated sailors undergoing category training and the visit allowed them the opportunity to see first hand the damage control principles utilised by the RAN.

The visitors were first shown a demonstration of fire-fighting in one of Newcastle’s machinery spaces. 

This allowed them to see the requirement for quick response and teamwork that these evolutions require and afterwards, Newcastle’s duty watch provided a demonstration of the damage control equipment used onboard, including wet drills on the upper deck. 

Australian and Jordanian divers also conducted combined training in searching for potential mine threats on Newcastle’s hull.

The Aussies then demonstrated their force protection procedures which included a wharf search which would allow the safe berthing of coalition ships in a hostile environment after they had cleared the ship.

Able Seaman Clearance Diver Marco Valensise said it was a great day to be in the water.

“The visibility was great, we found the mine threat and in a real time situation we would saved the ship and the day - what more could you ask for,” ABCD Valensise said.

Newcastle is in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) assigned to Operation SLIPPER - the Australian Defence Force contribution to the international campaign against piracy, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and for enhancing regional maritime security and engagement. 

Her deployment is the 55th rotation of an Australian warship to the MEAO since 1990.

More images are available at: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131392

L-R, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Travis Spry and Able Seaman Electronic Warfare Ryan Taylor demonstrate the finer points of leak stop and repair techniques on a simulated burst fire main for their new Royal Jordanian Naval Force friends.

L-R, Leading Seaman Marine Technician Travis Spry and Able Seaman Electronic Warfare Ryan Taylor demonstrate the finer points of leak stop and repair techniques on a simulated burst fire main for their new Royal Jordanian Naval Force friends.