Members from Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) as well as commercial shipping industry representatives came together for exercise Lucky Mariner 14-1, Oct. 27.
Lucky Mariner is a biannual U.S. Navy, coalition, and commercial shipping exercise in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (AOR) designed to integrate the civil-military response to a global shipping threat.
The exercise practices the coordination and mobilization of NCAGS, a component of U.S. Fleet Forces, with the Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO), United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization (UKMTO), and the commercial shipping industry to execute crisis response plans for strengthening civil-military cooperation. The goal of these partnerships is to ensure a coordinated response to maintain the unhindered use of the world’s waterways for the movement of material and people throughout the world.
“The 5th Fleet, Naval Forces Central Command operates in the most strategically significant part of our planet,” said Vice Adm. John Miller, commander of NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet, Combined Maritime Forces. “The global economy rests on the free movement of maritime traffic through three critical chokepoints that reside in this theater: the Suez Canal, the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb, and the Strait of Hormuz. Security of the maritime means security for the entire region – that starts here, with us.”
The weeklong exercise will focus on the threat of waterborne attack to shipping, and includes a variety of conferences to discuss how to best ensure safety and stability of the seas for international commercial traffic. There is also an at-sea phase followed by a lessons learned conference in order to improve Best Management Practices (BMP).
“Lucky Mariner affords Coalition Forces a chance to work with and learn from many entities, be it other military organizations or the commercial shipping industry,” said Capt. Joseph Naman, commander, Destroyer Squadron 50 and commander, Task Force 55. “Every time we exercise, we learn about how we can support one another. This will allow us to seamlessly integrate should a crisis situation occur.”
Exercise Lucky Mariner concludes Nov. 2.
NAVCENT is responsible for approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Red Sea. NAVCENT’s mission is to conduct maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts, and strengthen partner nations’ maritime capabilities in order to promote security and stability in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.
Press Release, October 30, 2013; Image: US Navy