US offers to share its anti-piracy expertise
THE United States is keen to share its experience in anti-piracy operations with other maritime nations to tackle the growing threat of piracy to global security.
Commander Harry L Marsh, commanding officer of the USS Stethem, said the US Navy will contribute its experience to the ongoing maritime security and counter-terrorism exercise co-hosted by Brunei and Singapore in a move to enhance cooperation and coordination at sea.
“Piracy is a concern for every maritime nation... By doing these exercises, not only are we preparing for that, but we’re also preventing it,” he explained.
With a long history of fighting piracy in areas such as off the coast of Somalia, he said the US Navy will be able to show other participating countries how it conducts anti-piracy measures such as naval boarding during the multilateral exercise.
“So that if we needed to cooperatively work during a counter-piracy incident, we would already know how to do that,” he added.
The commanding officer said the exercise coordinated under the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus will also provide nations with the opportunity to understand how they operate at sea in preparation for times of crisis.
“Whether it’s humanitarian response or hostility, we’ll know how to communicate, how they’re going to manoeuvre and we understand how they operate at sea,” he said.
Meanwhile, he pointed out the US is equally interested to learn from other countries in addressing maritime security challenges that are prevalent in the region such as small fishing boats that often evade radar detection. Commander Marsh said they would ask their counterparts what additional security measures are undertaken and how such situations are handled to avoid incidents at sea.
“Peer to peer, just talking, and understanding how they operate at sea is most important, so that when we’re out at sea we don’t misinterpret what their intentions are and how they’re going to operate,” he said.
The USS Stethem along with its 330 crew members is currently in the Sultanate for the first time to partake in the ADMM Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise.
Slated to take place from May 2 to 12, the multilateral exercise will involve about 3,000 personnel, 18 ships, 17 helicopters, two maritime patrol aircraft and special forces from 18 nations including the ASEAN states and its dialogue partners.
The Brunei Times