Indian, Chilean, US Navy ships take part in VBSS drill

Sailors aboard the U.S Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup (DDG 86) participated in a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) training exercise with sailors from the Chilean Navy Frigate CNS Almirante Cochrane (FF 05) and the Indian Navy Shivalik-class stealth frigate INS Satpura (F48), July 14.

The exercise was part of Rim of the Pacific 2016, the world’s largest international maritime exercise held in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. RIMPAC is a unique opportunity for nations to build and foster strong relationships.

VBSS is a maritime boarding tactic used by the military to counter terrorism, piracy and smuggling to maintain safety on the world’s oceans. Teams are either invited to board a ship by the ship’s master or they board the ship without consent to search the ship for illegal cargo or narcotics and to verify that the vessel is involved in the activities they say they are conducting.

Sailors from the Shoup’s VBSS teams conducted a compliant boarding on Satpura while sailors from Cochrane VBSS team boarded Shoup. The teams were invited to board each other’s vessels via bridge-to-bridge communication.

“It is very important to work closely like this with other countries because you never know what Navy you will be working with in the future,” said Lt. j.g. Zachary Bessette, Shoup’s VBSS boarding officer. “It’s good to build this good working relationship and rapport with them now.”

Once on board the respective vessels, Sailors met with the crew, searched the ship, verified their documents and logs and interviewed the ship’s master and engineer.

“Boarding a foreign vessel was very interesting and exciting,” said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Brett Viney, a member of Shoup’s VBSS team. “The Indian sailors were extremely nice and hospitable.”

Viney said it was a great chance to gain insight on how other navies operate and realize just how similar they are to the U.S. Navy.