Navies from the US, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore have conducted their annual Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) 2013 exercise from 2-12 September 2013.
During the exercise, the participating navies performed planning exercises at the Changi command and control (C2) centre at Changi Naval Base, Singapore.
The US Navy’s Freedom-variant of the littoral combat ships (LCS), USS Freedom’s (LCS 1) boarding team carried out a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercise with the Indonesian Navy, during the at-sea training event.
Freedom’s commanding officer commander, Pat Thien, said: "We did exactly what the ship was built to do: we operated in a near-shore environment, in littoral waters, with other ships similar in size and we were successful."
In addition, the drill involved both command post exercise at Singapore’s Changi Naval Base and a field training exercise in several regional locations at sea.
The allied navies also conducted other drills such as tracking of ships, and the boarding of a merchant vessel simulating to be engaged in terrorist-related activities at sea.
First conducted in 2002, the SEACAT exercise aims to improve sea-based information-sharing and the coordination of maritime security responses in the region.
The exercise has witnessed patrol vessels from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), accompanying sea security teams, patrol boats from the Singapore police coastguard and maritime patrol aircraft from the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
In addition to enhancing dialogue and practical cooperation during realistic scenarios, the drill provides hands-on practice for participating navies in maritime security operations, while highlighting information sharing and multilateral cooperation in scenarios.
Image: Sailors from the Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training (MCAST) team exchange best practices with a Royal Malaysian Navy boarding team as part of SEACAT 2013 drill. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo.