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USCGC Midgett, Yemen Coast Guard Conduct Professional Exchange

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070201-12
Release Date: 2/1/2007 4:18:00 PM

From USCGC Midgett Public Affairs

USCGC MIDGETT, At Sea (NNS) -- U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WHEC 726) completed a two-day professional exchange with members of the Yemen Coast Guard on Jan. 17 while conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in the Red Sea as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

During their stay aboard Midgett, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in Seattle, four Yemeni coast guard personnel participated in a professional exchange of medical, law enforcement, and damage control procedures, as well as flight operations and interaction patrols with the local maritime community off the coast of Yemen.

“While aboard, they assisted greatly in conducting joint approaches to fishing dhows operating in the vicinity,” said Midgett Commanding Officer Capt. E.L. Alexander.

By acting as observers and helping to translate during small boat approaches, the Yemeni officers were able to assist Midgett’s boarding team with regional vessel registrations and were also knowledgeable on local fisherman transit patterns.

“I think it was a good experience for us,” said Sgt. Hassan Hassan Blbid, a navigator in the Yemen Coast Guard. “I would like to be able to do work with the American Coast Guard again. We were able to see different ways of handling safety and security concerns, and we learned about new equipment.”

During the professional exchange, Midgett’s team discussed gear carried by boarding team members and answered questions about different weapons systems, body armor and support gear.

“Any chance to meet and interact with members of another country is always rewarding,” said Ensign Steven Baldovsky, Midgett’s gunnery officer.

Before departing Midgett, the four Yemeni coast guard members had the opportunity to participate in flights aboard Midgett’s HH-65C Dolphin helicopter, contributing as lookouts for vessels on the horizon. Two flights were conducted, ensuring all Yemenis on board were given the opportunity to participate.

The Yemen Coast Guard was created in 2003 and does not own any aircraft, so the flights presented an opportunity for the Yemeni officers to experience another aspect of U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue operations.

Midgett, which has been deployed since September, is operating with coalition maritime forces under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

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