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O'Kane Completes VBSS Missions

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070529-24
Release Date: 5/29/2007 10:58:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Joseph R. Vincent, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS O'KANE, At Sea (NNS) -- Visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team members aboard USS O’Kane (DDG 77) completed interaction patrols (IPATS) using a rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) on May 18.

O’Kane has been conducting IPATS since the ship’s arrival to the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations (AOO) on Feb. 19.

“Each time we get in the RHIB, it’s different,” said Gunner’s Mate 1st Class (SW) Stephen Robinson, a VBSS team member. “We do what we can to support maritime operations and keep the people safe. Hopefully, we’ll make a few friends along the way.”

Maritime security operations help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complement the counterterrorism and security efforts in regional nations’ littoral waters. Coalition forces also conduct maritime security operations under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that commercial shipping and fishing can occur safely in the region.

“During IPATS we go up to the dhows (small fishing boats) and ask if they need any assistance,” said Ensign Thomas Scazzafavo, a VBSS boarding officer. “We also let them know there are coalition forces in the region, and we are all here to help.”

While alongside the dhows, VBSS members give fruit, water and coalition contact information in the event the dhows’ crew members need assistance.

“We gave them our contact information in case they need to get a hold of us,” said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Brain Adkins, a VBSS team member. “They really appreciated the information and also gave us a lot of compliments about how they like the coalition forces operating in the area.”

O’Kane left its homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Jan. 26 on a regularly scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet’s AOO as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group.

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