UK Navy’s HMS Defender has been exercising her boarding team at a state-of-the-art facility during her maiden deployment.
HMS Defender’s boarding team is a combination of Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines who are specially trained to conduct safe and secure boarding.
During a week-long visit to the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Centre (NMIOTC) in Soudha Bay, Crete, Defender’s ‘Blue’ and ‘Green’ teams were put through their paces in a series of classroom based lectures and training scenarios conducted on a disused ship in the harbour.
The three day intensive boarding course culminated in a final exercise using paintball style ammunition against targets placed around the ship as sailors and Royal Marines made their way through the ship clearing compartments.
Captain Sam Bolam, Officer Commanding Royal Marines (OCRM) onboard HMS Defender, said: “The Royal Marines currently embarked on HMS Defender go through an intensive programme prior to deploying.
“Working and training closely with allied forces helps maximise our training package which can vary between nations.”
While Lieutenant Tom Phillips, HMS Defender’s boarding officer, added: “It is not often that boarding teams can work closely with our neighbouring nations so a training opportunity like this demonstrates how we can further our working relationships in the long run.”
The Commanding Officer of HMS Defender, Commander Phil Nash, said the boarding team was ready to move at a moment’s notice.
HMS Defender will continue to conduct maritime security operations in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and the Gulf region in support of the UK’s Operation KIPION, and Combined Maritime Forces counter terror and counter piracy missions in the Middle East.
Press Release, July 09, 2014; Image: UK Navy