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News | Dec. 16, 2022

U.S., Regional Partners Form Multinational Boarding Team in Middle East

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mark Thomas Mahmod

U.S. 5th Fleet completed a two-week multinational vessel boarding integration event, Dec. 15, with regional nations in the Middle East.

Participants consisted of members from navies and coast guards for the United States and regional nations including Bahrain. All personnel attended a classroom exchange at U.S. 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain before operating at sea from guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) in the Gulf of Oman.

While ashore, participants held discussions on maritime law, safety, vessel inspection and search procedures. Personnel then embarked The Sullivans to conduct routine flag-verification boardings on vessels transiting international waters.

“The Sullivans’ crew was proud to work alongside our partners to help strengthen partnerships and ensure maritime security here in the Middle East,” said Cmdr. James Diefenderfer Jr., commanding officer of The Sullivans. “In an environment like this, collaboration and partnerships are critical because no navy or coast guard can accomplish the mission alone.”

The event follows a similar one held in October that included Bahrain, Djibouti, Yemen and the United States. Participants from these nations formed a multinational team to conduct routine vessel boardings in the Gulf of Aden.

The U.S. 5th Fleet operating area includes 21 countries, the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandeb and Suez Canal.