As part of the international Blue Force’s continuing efforts to protect ‘Purpleland’, Thai ship HTMS Rattanakosin conducted a compliant boarding of HMAS Darwin, playing the part of a merchant ship from ‘Orangeland’, during Exercise KAKADU 2012.
An eight man team boarded Darwin and were met by members of her ship’s company, role playing as the merchant ship crew.
The boarding party attended the bridge, questioned the master, secured the crew on the forecastle, and searched the ship’s cargo and engine room.
Satisfied that all was in order, the boarding party allowed the ‘Orangeland’ commercial ship to proceed.
The boarding exercise, the first ever done by the Thai Navy team, was conducted under the watchful eye of Darwin’s boarding officer, LEUT Andrew Willett and boarding party team leader Petty Officer Stores Naval (POSN) Peter McKirdy as trainers and mentors.
During a post-exercise de-brief, LEUT Willett and POSN McKirdy provided feedback and offered suggestions for improvements.
The exercise was another example of the interoperability developed through Exercise KAKADU 2012, as language barriers are overcome, cultural understanding improved and experiences shared to achieve positive training outcomes for all participants.
Exercise KAKADU 2012, Australia’s premier maritime exercise, is being conducted in the waters and airspace off Darwin, Northern Territory from 29 August to 14 September.
The biennial exercise has drawn together 17 nations as participants and observers for exercises, graduated training activities and weapons practice aimed at developing interoperability—the ability of foreign navies to work together—in maritime operations in a regional multilateral environment.
The Royal Australian Navy is represented by Anzac Class frigates HMA Ships Perth and Warramunga, Adelaide Class frigate HMAS Darwin and its embarked S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter and Mine Hunter Coastals HMA Ships Gascoyne and Huon.
Royal Australian Air Force AP3C maritime patrol, F/A-18 Hornet and Hawk Lead-in-Fighter Aircraft are also taking part.
Naval Today Staff, September 13, 2012; Image: Australian Navy