The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ship HMAS Newcastle is participating in a focused operation in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea as part of the international campaign against terrorism.
During the operation, Newcastle has conducted an Approach and Assist Visit (AAV) to a Yemeni flagged fishing vessel (dhow) in the Gulf of Aden.
Newcastle’s boarding party was invited to board the Yemeni flagged vessel by its crew, and donated a small quantity of sunglasses and sunscreen to the fishermen as a sign of good will.
AAVs are conducted regularly by coalition ships to foster good relationships with the local maritime community by approaching vessels and engaging in dialogue in the maritime environment. AAVs typically include confirmation of the welfare of the mariners, and seek information on what they may have seen in the area or any issues they may have.
Newcastle’s Boarding Officer, Lieutenant Alec Fieldsend said his boarding party was well received by the crew of the Yemeni fishing vessel.
“It’s all about building relationships with them and letting them know that we’re in the area to protect them and to keep the region secure,” LEUT Fieldsend said.
“For most of these fishermen, security in the maritime environment directly relates to their ability to make a living. So, most of them are very happy to see us out here conducting patrols,” he said.
CTF 150 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 28-nation coalition based in Bahrain.
CTF 150’s Area of Operation (AOO) spans over two million square miles, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Oman. The task force exists to create a lawful and stable maritime environment free from terrorism, smuggling and other illegal activities.
Newcastle’s participation in CTF 150 is part of her assignment to Operation SLIPPER - the Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and enhancing regional maritime security and engagement.
Newcastle’s current deployment is the 55th rotation of an Australian warship to the MEAO since 1990. She is due to return to Australia in October, after handing over Operation SLIPPER duties to HMAS Melbourne.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130678.