HMAS Success has displayed the ongoing co-operation necessary amongst the nations of the Combined Maritime Forces, conducting a boarding operation in the Middle East Region with the help Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Dewey.
On 17 January, Success identified a suspicious vessel through its embarked Seahawk helicopter and subsequently tasked a boarding team to verify the dhow’s nationality.
With further suspicious characteristics identified, a more thorough search for possible illicit substances was determined and USS Dewey was sent to assist Success by providing Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) support to the boarding operation.
The NCIS agent, who has previously worked with other Royal Australian Navy ships in the region, praised Success’ boarding team on effectively evaluating the evidence and following the correct techniques.
Success’ Boarding Officer, Sub-Lieutenant Thomas Matthews said he was grateful for the opportunity to work with and learn from someone with such significant experience.
“The NCIS agent validated our current procedures and provided insightful feedback about interdiction operations that our boarding team really valued,” he said.
“Once the search had been completed, the combined team returned to their respective ships after over nine hours onboard the dhow.”
Commanding Officer Success, Captain Justin Jones said the Royal Australian Navy, US Navy and US Coast Guard had always maintained a strong working relationship in the operational environment.
“The strong relationship we have was highlighted today with the boarding operation, but also yesterday when Success’ helicopter assisted USCGC Maui in identifying a vessel they were investigating,” Captain Jones said.
“This exemplifies the international cooperation integral to our role of maritime security and stability in the Middle East Region.”
Narcotic smuggling has been linked to funding terrorist activities and while no narcotics were found onboard the vessel, the boarding operation proved to be an important learning experience for Success’ boarding team and an excellent example of coalition navies working together.
The Combined Maritime Forces is a multinational coalition based in the Middle East which seeks to promote security, stability and prosperity in the maritime domain which encompass some of the world’s most important shipping lanes.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143110.