The US Navy and the naval forces from 21 Indo-Pacific partner nations, has commenced the multilateral exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT).

The 21st iteration of SEACAT is being conducted in the Republic of Singapore from 16 August.

SEACAT aims to bolster cooperation among Southeast Asian countries. It is the first in-person exercise in last two years.

Apart from the US and Singapore, the other participating nations are the UK, Australia, Indonesia, Germany, Bangladesh, France, Philippines, New Zealand, Vietnam, Brunei, Thailand, Canada, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Japan, Maldives, Peru, Republic of Korea and Malaysia.

SEACAT also includes participation of academia, non-governmental and international organisations.

SEACAT 2022 will involve various workshops and seminars, including maritime domain awareness (MDA) seminar; visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) workshop and an uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) workshop.

Participants will use standardised tactics, procedures and techniques to address mutual concerns such as maritime crises, contingencies and illegal activities.

The SEACAT’s sea phase will feature boarding operations by several countries across the contracted vessel. This is designed to offer training opportunities in real-world at-sea environments.

In line with the sea phase, a maritime operations centre within the Information Fusion Centre in Singapore will act as a hub for information sharing, crisis coordination and tracking of contracted vessel simulating as a suspicious vessel at the sea.

US Navy Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 commander captain Tom Ogden said: “This iteration of SEACAT is designed as a scenario that requires participating countries to use all MDA assets available to conduct multilateral intercepts using standard procedures.”

Personnel from the US Navy’s Task Force 76, DESRON 7, US Seventh Fleet and US Pacific Fleet along with a P-8A Poseidon aircraft assigned to Task Force 72 have participated in the exercise.