Home' Navy News : August 29th 2013 Contents 2 NEWS
www.defence.gov.au/news/NAVYNEWS August 29, 2013
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SERVING AUSTRALIA WITH PRIDE NEWS
LEUT Sarah West
HMAS Newcastle completed a week-long mari-
time security patrol in the Arabian Gulf on July 29.
Assigned to the multinational Combined Task
Force 152 (CTF 152), Newcastle patrolled the gulf
looking for terrorist and destabilising activity.
Newcastle's boarding parties conducted 23 mari-
time security boarding operations during the patrol, to
collect 'patterns of life' intelligence and enhance the
relationship with local fishermen.
Boarding officer LEUT David Osborne said the
boarding party was well received by the local com-
"Australia has been committed to the Arabian Sea
for many years now because there is a lot of trade that
transits through this area," he said.
"While most people transiting the area are doing
so to conduct legal activities, there are some whose
activities threaten the safety and security of everyone
"Over the years we have built up a good rap-
port with the local seafaring community, so much
so that they start clapping and smiling when we tell
them we are from Australia and some of the English-
speaking mariners have even made conversation with
us about the cricket. I just hope they aren't following
Australia's form in the Ashes too closely."
The boarding parties also practised their board-
ing skills with the combined United States Navy and
Coast Guard visit, board, search and seizure team,
in a purpose-built 'ship in a box' training facility in
The US also conducts maritime boarding opera-
tions in the region as part of the 29-nation CMF coali-
tion.The Australian sailors boarded the 'ship in a
box' to demonstrate their VBSS procedures, while
the US sailors acted as civilian mariners so that the
Australians could practice their questioning tech-
Newcastle's boarding officer LEUT Laura Ball
said the opportunity allowed her team to compare tac-
tics with their American counterparts.
"The training was excellent. The US is one of
our biggest coalition partners and training with them
allowed us to swap good ideas and strengthen coali-
tion ties," LEUT Ball said.
"I think everyone in the team got something out
of the training. We learned different questioning
techniques, slightly different search techniques and I
think the experience will enhance our own boarding
US Navy PO Stephen Bird said the boarding teams
were put through scenarios to help them analyse the
effectiveness of their intelligence gathering tech-
"What the personnel practised here today was to
approach a dhow, go on board and ask basic questions
of the master and the crew. We taught them how to
ask questions and build relationships which maximise
their ability to gather information," he said.
PO Bird said his sailors also learned from the
Australians during the training scenarios.
LEUT Ball said Newcastle would seek to conduct
more training with Australia's coalition partners
before the ship's six-month deployment to the MEAO
concludes in October.
Over the course of her six-month deployment, the
Australian warship will conduct numerous operations
with three multinational coalition task forces, includ-
ing the counter terrorism focused CTF 150, the coun-
ter piracy-focused CTF 151 and the CTF 152, which
is focused on maritime security in the Arabian Gulf.
Newcastle's deployment is the 55th rotation of an
Australian warship to the MEAO since 1990. On
her return, she will hand over Op Slipper duties to
Crew on the go during
LEUT Sarah West
HMAS Newcastle made a ren-
dezvous with the US Navy's
Mine Counter Measure Ship
USS Devastator on July 27 in
the Southern Arabian Gulf.
The meeting allowed
members of the ship's com-
panies from 'Warship 06' and
'Warship 6' to cross decks and
experience the capabilities and
living conditions of a foreign
warship. CO Newcastle also
hosted Devastator's captain on
board for lunch and a tour.
LSNPC Garrett Metz said
his visit to the American ship
gave him a broader under-
standing of coalition opera-
tions in the region.
"It was an interesting expe-
rience that highlighted the dif-
ferent ways you can do busi-
ness at sea and the different
aspects of the operations that
coalition forces are taking part
in here in the Arabian Gulf,"
"Devastator is in the
Persian Gulf to accurately
study the sea floor which
would make it easier to dis-
tinguish mines from natural
features such as rocks and
coral. Their operations are
very different to ours, but we
are all contributing to the same
mission," LS Metz said.
It was the second
cross deck opportunity for
Newcastle's crew in as many
days after conducting a simi-
lar evolution with the Royal
Navy Type 45 Destroyer HMS
Dragon the previous day.
HMAS Newcastle has transited
through the Strait of Hormuz,
the busiest passageway for oil
tankers in the world and is con-
sidered to be one of the most
strategic bodies of water on the
Oil tankers use the strait,
which connects the Gulf of
Oman to the Persian Gulf, to
transport much of the oil pro-
duced in Bahrain, Iran, Iraq,
Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
to the rest of the world.
Newcastle travelled through
the strait on her way to Bahrain,
after completing a success-
ful month of counter terror-
ism operations in the Indian
Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the
Red Sea and counter piracy
operations in the Internationally
Recommended Transit Corridor.
Newcastle principal warfare
officer LEUT Alisha Withers
said it was important to maintain
a military presence in the strait.
"The strong coalition military
presence in the strait reinforces
our resolve, that we are dedicat-
ed to keeping this passage open
and safe for international trade,"
The ship's boatswains mates
kept watch on the upper decks
for nine hours in the scorching
sun while the Australian warship
steamed through the narrow
body of water which separates
Iran from the UAE and Oman.
LEUT Withers said it was
normal practice to close up
weapons crews while transiting
through the area.
"It is not uncommon to be
approached by small vessels
armed with anything from small
arms to machine guns. While
these interactions are usually
non-threatening, it is important
that we present as a 'hard tar-
get'," she said.
"This posture we exhibit not
only provides us with an immedi-
ate avenue to defend ourselves
should the situation escalate,
but also shows any potentially
threatening vessels that we are
not an easy target and shouldn't
be interfered with."
Strait sailing in Hormuz
COUNTER PIRACY: HMAS Newcastle's boarding
party returns after visiting a dhow while conducting
maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.
Inset, AB Lionel Hayden and LS Shaun Ryan
perform a routine check of a F89 Minimi during
the transit of the Strait of Hormuz.
Photos: LEUT Sarah West and POIS Ollie Garside
Photo: POIS Ollie
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