Singapore hosts 11-nation SEACAT drill

US Navy photo

The 18th edition of international exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) kicked in Singapore on August 19.

Maritime forces from ten Indo-Pacific partner nations in addition to the US Navy will engage in “real world, real time” training designed to enhance partner nation ability to communicate, coordinate and counter illegal smuggling and piracy.

Participating nations include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

The exercise emphasizes realistic training scenarios wherein exercise participants will practice identifying, tracking and boarding of vessels participating in the exercise.

Throughout the exercise, participants will operate together, executing a variety of realistic scenarios designed to reinforce interoperability in areas such as visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), maritime domain awareness and maritime asset tracking.

A maritime operations center in Singapore will serve as a centralized hub for crisis coordination and information sharing in the tracking of vessels of interests throughout the exercise.

Liaison officers will receive simulated reports of suspect vessels in the straits of Singapore and Malacca, the Andaman Sea or the South China Sea. After sharing information from all available sources such as Singapore’s Information Fusion Centre and the Philippines’ National Coast Watch Center, the LNOs will develop and implement response plans utilizing aircraft and ships from participating navies and coast guards to investigate and conduct on-scene boardings as necessary.

In all, SEACAT includes 14 ships and more than 400 personnel.

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