10 August, 2009 - Today the Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) Team conducted training. Our mission requires that we are able to conduct boarding operations of vessels in international waters. We do this to deter criminal activity, to stop the flow of illegal weapons and to stop human trafficking. Because we didn't have a ship to conduct exercises with today we sent the team out on our small boat and used STOUT as the ship to be boarded. Several members of STOUT role played as a merchant crew and interacted with the VBSS team. In this way the VBSS team members were able to practice boarding a ship, maneuvering through the ship, and conducting queries of the crew, specifically the master.
VBSS team members go through extensive training before becoming certified. Training includes everything from swimming tests to tactical exercises to weapons qualifications.
In addition to the training value provided to the VBSS team the exercise today also benefited boat deck personnel and the bridge watch team. As in most of the things we do on STOUT, it takes a team effort to be successful.