The US Navy’s Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate USS Elrod (FFG 55) and the Royal Moroccan Navy Sigma-class corvette Allal Ben Abellah conducted a series of at sea drills on February 6.
The drills, called a passing exercise, were conducted to increase the tactical proficiencies, partnership and operational readiness of the two navies.
During the exercise, the crews from each ship were given an opportunity to perform ship manoeuvring, respond to a simulated man overboard and conduct a simulated boarding, the US Navy said.
The boarding exercise was the most in depth part of the exchange as both ship’s boarding teams boarded each other’s vessels and shared best practices.
“They boarded our ship as if we were a shipping vessel, searched each of the crew members, and searched certain areas of the ship that were designated to be a part of the scenario, and apprehended the suspects when they found contraband,” said Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Jacob Genovese, a member of Elrod’s boarding team. “The entire time we watched from a distance and compared all of our techniques. Afterwards, we went to their ship and did the same.”
“Exercises like this are important, because in a world where so much deals with and depends on technology and weaponry, ship boarding is one of the few warfare areas that still relies on only people executing each of their jobs to perfection,” said Ensign Kainoa Cumpston, a boarding team officer aboard Elrod. “It’s a very in depth warfare area, and it’s something that needs to be constantly trained for.”
Cumpston added that he was impressed with how the Moroccan team executed their mission.
“It was a great opportunity to work with the Royal Moroccan Navy,” said Cumpston. “We have a very experienced boarding team on board, so we had a lot to share. They were a very professional team, and I feel like we all learned something.”
Elrod is currently on a scheduled deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
Upon return from deployment, Elrod is scheduled for decommissioning after more than 30 years of service.