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April 26, 2012
Boarding ties strengthened
WOFF Steven Reid, RAAF
THE relationship between the Thai and
Australian Navies was strengthened
when CPOB Thomas Whitworth and
POB Gregory Proctor-Bingham deployed
from HMAS Cerberus to Thailand to
deliver boarding operations training.
This is a particularly relevant area
of cooperation for Thailand, noting the
Royal Thai Navy's (RTN) continued
commitment to counter-piracy operations
off the Gulf of Aden.
Students from RTN Fleet Training
Command, Frigate Squadron 1 and
Coastal Defence Squadron completed the
course, which was conducted at Sattahip
Naval Base from March 26 to April 5.
With the assistance of interpreters, the
RAN's Boarding Operations Common
course was adapted to suit the roles and
different equipment and vessel types cur-
rently used by the RTN.
This was the first time that such train-
ing had ever been conducted by the RAN
outside of Australia.
One senior RTN officer noted "the
arrival of the highly experienced RAN
instructors in Thailand demonstrates
more than just a training outcome, but
also the strong and deepening friend-
ship that exists between our two navies,
particularly in these times of constantly
changing maritime threats and security
The first week of training included
classroom discussions on boarding opera-
tions, including a series of demonstra-
tions and practical sessions covering
team composition and roles, equipment,
defensive tactics, weapons drills and
During the second week, students
took part in a series of practical scenar-
ios, embarking from a berthed mother-
ship by small boat to board a special-
purpose target vessel.
The training was shaped to deliver
tangible outcomes for the RTN students
and was also an excellent opportunity to
mutually benefit from shared professional
knowledge of a key skill set for today's
The delivery of the boarding party
training in Thailand sprang from Exercise
Austhai 2009, when RAN demonstrated
boarding party techniques to RTN par-
The idea was refined in bilateral dis-
cussions and supported by International
Policy Division, recognising that such
training is a key enabler of enhanced
interoperability with partner navies.
NOTED: POB Gregory Proctor-Bingham shows Royal Thai Navy
members the finer points of apprehension tactics.
SHIP-SHAPE: POB Gregory Proctor-Bingham oversees boarding operations
at Sattahip Naval Base in Thailand.
LOOKING UP: CPOB Thomas Whitworth with a Royal Thai Navy member during training in Thailand.
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