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Nations Join Forces to Conduct VBSS During BALTOPS 2014

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS140613-16
Release Date: 6/13/2014 2:34:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) DJ Revell, Navy Public Affairs Support Element - East

BALTIC SEA (NNS) -- Danish, Georgian and U.S. visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) teams conducted Maritime Interception Operations (MIO) training during exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2014 June 13.

The teams boarded FGS Spessart (A1442), a Rhn-class tanker of the German Navy. During the boarding, VBSS teams executed tactical team movements, climbing and rappelling techniques, self-defense tactics, and weapons handling. After completion of the exercise, the teams analyzed and accessed tactics, techniques and skills. The crux of training focused on partnership.

'With this training we hope to become better and build a sturdy working relationship with each other,' said Royal Danish Navy Military Police Chief of Operations, Lt. Claus Rasmussen. 'You will never know if we will have to conduct an operation like this in the future.'

BALTOPS provides a unique opportunity for dispersed nations to collaborate together, in close proximity, on strategy and processes to enhance safety and effectiveness. VBSS operations are designed to support MIO through non-compliant and compliant boardings in order to combat piracy and smuggling, conduct counterterrorism missions, and perform customs and safety inspections.

'Each country has their own communication and standards,' said Danish VBSS squad leader Petty Officer Mike Joergensen, embarked onboard Danish ship, HNLMS Friesland (P842). 'This is why we perform these exercises; to improve and learn from one another.'

BALTOPS is an annual, multinational exercise to enhance maritime capabilities and interoperability with partner nations to promote maritime safety and security in the Baltic Sea. This year's iteration of the exercise hosts 30 ships, 50 aircraft and approximately 3,000 people from 14 nations, including NATO.

Participants exercise, create and sustain partnerships, knowledge and skill sets across a broad range of mission areas to strengthen capabilities of both individual services and the international force.

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