Africa Partnership Station (APS) East platform USS Nicholas (FFG 47) recently trained with the Mauritius Group and Intervention Police Force (GIPF) on basic visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) methods, which culminated in a live at-sea exercise in Port Louis Mauritius.
In-port training, which lasted for a period of three days, provided students education and practice on boarding and searching techniques, instruction on how to investigate suspicious personnel and handle weapons, and courses on fire fighting and damage control, search and rescue procedures, and force protection measures.
The training was a vital part of the APS East mission to bolster maritime safety and security, by providing Mauritian maritime professionals with the enhanced skills to help counter against illegal trafficking and piracy and to protect precious resources – part of an ongoing endeavor to keep international waters safe.
“APS provides the perfect venue for this kind of training,” said Lieutenant junior grade Beryl Stefanic, training officer aboard Nicholas. “We are fostering friendships and trust with one another while also providing important information that will help them keep positive control of any vessel which threatens their territory.”
The students were able to put everything they learned throughout the past several days into practice during the at-sea drill, proving themselves to their instructors as well as each other.
“This exercise really helped me understand every part of VBSS, because I got to act it out as if it were a real scenario,” said Private Pauline Pascal, one of the GIPF participants. “When we boarded the vessel and got up to the bridge, I was mentally prepared to take charge of the men inside by any means necessary, and that is exactly what I did.”
The students used tactical movements they learned earlier in the week to take down their instructors, who took part in the drill. They used physical force and plastic weapons, portrayed as live weapons, to maneuver the men and begin the questioning procedures for insight on why the ship was in Mauritius waterways.
The drill was not only a test that displayed the knowledge of the students, but also provided a fun way to end the time the students and sailors had spent together during the port visit.
“We had a lot of fun working with these sailors,” said Pascal. “This course gave us a solid foundation for maritime security and we all hope that we can do this type of stuff again with the US Navy in the future.”
The USS Nicholas is currently deployed with the high speed vessel Swift (HSV-2) during Africa Partnership Station-East, an international cooperative initiative aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and other collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. APS East is being conducted in cooperation with US Naval Forces Africa and US Africa Command (AFRICOM).
Pic: USS Nicholas (FFG 47)
Sources: www.africom.mil and Africa Partnership Station East Public Affairs