MANAMA, BAHRAIN –
Forces from five nations formed a multinational boarding team (MNBT) and conducted a subject-matter-expert exchange in the Gulf of Oman during a 17-day period ending March 8.
Participants included service members from U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and 12 personnel from the Bahrain Coast Guard, Royal Bahrain Naval Force, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Saudi Naval Forces, and United Arab Emirates Presidential Guard.
The at-sea exchange provided participants an opportunity to enhance interoperability, exchange best practices and support maritime security in the region.
“International maritime forces are at their best when working by, with and through one another to address common challenges,” said Capt. Robert Francis, commodore for NAVCENT's Task Force 55, which oversees U.S. maritime surface forces in the Middle East region. “It is exciting to see our forces engaging regional partners to enhance our collective maritime security capabilities.”
The U.S. ships involved included expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) and patrol coastal ships USS Chinook (PC 9) and USS Thunderbolt (PC 12).
The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses approximately 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Strait of Bab al-Mandeb.