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Mobile Security Detachment 22 Departs Iraqi Oil Terminals

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050523-07
Release Date: 5/23/2005 2:56:00 PM

From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Mobile Security Detachment (MSD) 25 officially replaced Maritime Security Detachment 22 as the security force aboard Iraq’s Al Basrah (ABOT) and Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminals (KAAOT) May 23.

U.S. forces have augmented Iraqi security forces aboard the terminals since April of 2004, when insurgents attempted an attack with explosive-laden dhows. MSD 22 replaced MSD 21 Dec. 1.

ABOT and KAAOT are Iraq’s only operational offshore terminals and are used to fill tankers from all over the world.

“The two oil terminals provide 90 percent of Iraq’s GDP,” said Royal Australian Navy Commodore Steve Gilmore, commander of the multinational Task Force 58, which provides security for the oil platforms and conducts maritime security operations in the region under Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. “It is vital that these terminals be protected to ensure the rebuilding of Iraq is successful.”

In recognition of their unwavering dedication and professionalism amid adverse conditions and the vital role the unit played within Task Force 58, Gimore awarded MSD 22 with the first Commander, Task Force 58 Commendation.

Gilmore took command of Task Force 58 April 17, marking the first time since World War II an Australian coalition commander has led a combined task group in real-world operations.

“The MSDs play an extremely important role in the mission to protect the terminals,” said Gilmore. “The MSD units provide point defense as part of a comprehensive multilayered strategy to ensure the continuing operation of the terminals.”

MSD Sailors actually live aboard the terminals, maintaining watch stations and a quick reaction force 24 hours a day. Both oil terminals are under Iraqi civilian control, and are operated and staffed by Iraq’s Southern Oil Company.

“Our basic mission is to enable tankers to come and go, to allow Iraq to generate the revenue they need to stabilize their country,” said Lt. Cmdr. Pat Fulgham, officer-in-charge of MSD 22.

But MSD 22 has done even more than that. During the Jan. 30 election, MSD 22 Sailors helped ensure every worker aboard the terminals safely boarded a tug and traveled ashore to cast their ballots.

Coalition and MultiNational Division Southeast Forces in Iraq, have a variety of assets at their disposal to detect, disrupt and destroy terrorist attempts to harm the infrastructure of Iraq. The multinational force helps set the conditions for the security and stability in Iraq to help provide the Iraqi people the opportunity for self-determination.

“Never will I forget the help of coalition forces,” said Head of the Iraqi navy, Commodore Muhammad Jawad. “They have changed all my people’s lives, my country’s life; they brought a future to my country. I would like to thank them very, very much.”




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