US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), representatives from Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) and the commercial shipping industry completed exercise Lucky Mariner on April 11.
Lucky Mariner is an annual exercise led by NAVCENT’s Task Force 55 (TF 55), focusing on NCAGS skill sets employed against threats to shipping, deconflicting military operations with commercial shipping and maintaining the free flow of commerce in the US 5th Fleet area of operations.
“Military and commercial partnerships are key to preserving the free flow of commerce in this critically important region with three major choke points. Lucky Mariner allows us to practice naval cooperation and guidance for shipping skill sets, which are essential to maritime security and the global economy,” Cmdr. Daniel Gavigan, Commanding Officer of NR NCAGS Chicago supporting TF 55, said.
The exercise practiced the coordination and mobilization of NCAGS, a component of US Fleet Forces, and the commercial shipping industry, providing Fleet Commanders assistance in risk management by providing situational awareness and real-time interpretation of the merchant shipping landscape.
The twenty-one-day exercise included the embarkation of NCAGS shipping coordination teams onto commercial vessel Safmarine Kuramo.
Capt. Nikolaus Keydel, master of M/V Safmarine Kuramo, a containership, explained that voyages through the northern Persian Gulf have been peaceful in recent years, attributing that peace to the continued presence of US Navy forces in the region.
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.