Seven Asean, US navies participate in tracking exercise

Liaison Officers (LNO) representing seven navies from Southeast Asia and United States – Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, US and Singapore – have gathered at the Changi C2 Centre in Singapore for the 14th iteration of Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT). “Under the auspice of a fictional United Nations Security Resolution, a combined U.S. and Southeast Asian Anti-Piracy Task Group was formed to thwart a recent increase in incidents of maritime piracy, and smuggling of weapons and narcotics in the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea,” Task Force 73, US 7th Fleet Foreign Area Officer CDR Greg Adams said of the scenario.

He further added the virtual reality unfolded at the Changi C2 Centre, three U.S. Naval Ships, the AMELIA EARHART, SAFEGUARD, and MILLINOCKET, acting as ‘bad guys’, sailed through the South China Sea, Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea.

“Tidbits of information from Interpol, regional information fusion centers, news broadcasts, etc. trickled in to the Liaison Officers on the watchfloor, and only through an abundance of cooperation and information sharing was the picture clear enough for regional navies to conduct boardings at sea,” Adams added. “Each boarding informed the next, and over the course of the five day exercise participating navies carried out a total of eight successful boardings at sea.”

“LNO’s first-hand accounts from real-world operations were deconstructed and applied to a future fictional operation. SEACAT remains an effective laboratory to study operations-past and apply these lessons to operations-future,” the US Navy officer said.

SEACAT is a scenario-driven tracking exercise which focuses on real time information exchange between the navy units involved, coordinated monitoring and close observation on our maritime territory, tracking suspicious vessels, and eventual conduct of visit, board, search and seizure to the SEACAT-controlled contact of interest or the supposed suspicious target vessel.