Southern Partnership Station Begins Aboard Swift
The Incat-built 98 metre Wave Piercing Catamaran HSV 2 Swift has just commenced a new long term charter which could see her remain in military service for another five years.
Sealift Inc. of New York was recently awarded the charter of the Swift for up to 59 months by the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The company is chartering the craft from its US Owner, Bollinger/Incat, on a firm-fixed-price contract for a 12-month charter. The contract contains four options, which include a further three 12-month options and one 11-month option, which if exercised, would bring the total contract value to US$93,076,577
Sealift Inc. is a privately held company, incorporated in New York. The company operates a fleet of twelve US flag, ocean-going ships, operating on liner services to world wide destinations. They are also one of the largest ocean transportation contractors for US Government Food Aid cargoes.
Through Sealift, the Swift will be operated worldwide in support of US Fleet Forces Command and the war on terrorism. The vessel will also be used for emerging operational concepts such as sea basing and the Global Fleet Station.
Having completed a major four month refurbishment and reflagging in Morgan City, Louisiana carried out by a special Service@Incat project team led by Technical Manager Graham Perkins from Incat’s Hobart, Tasmania shipyard, the US-flagged Swift sailed on 25th November for a five-month deployment in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS).
Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of various specialty platforms to the US Southern Command area of focus in the Caribbean and Latin America. The mission’s primary goal is information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region.
“Southern Partnership Station provides an excellent opportunity to facilitate cooperation, interaction and communication between regional partners’ civil and maritime services,” said Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, Commander, US Naval Forces Southern Command and US 4th Fleet. “Working together alongside our partner nations, sharing knowledge and experiences through joint, multinational and interagency exchanges will help to build strong relationships, improve interoperability and enhance regional maritime security.”
Military training teams and subject matter experts embarked on the Swift will provide partner nations with classroom and hands-on training in a variety of subjects. She is scheduled to visit El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Barbados and Colombia. The mission is coordinated through US Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. Fourth Fleet (NAVSO/ 4th Fleet) with partner nations to meet their specific training requests. Swift embarked elements of the Navy Expeditionary Training Command from Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group from Fort Story, Va., and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Security Training Assistance and Assessment Team.
Members of the Navy Expeditionary Training Command will provide instruction in small boat operations, maintenance and repair, boarding techniques, armed sentry, search and rescue, combat lifesaving, leadership principles for junior and senior partner nation enlisted service members, and instructor training.
The Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group will advise partner nation service members on a variety of different topics including marksmanship, martial arts, and non-lethal weapons tactics.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service Security Training and Assessment Team will provide port security instruction and advice.
Information systems technicians will help install and instruct partner nation service members on the use of Integrated Automatic Identification Systems (IAIS). IAIS is a computer based vessel identification program that provides ports and other ships with real-time location and information on friendly vessels within their region.
As the Naval Component Command of SOUTHCOM, NAVSO’s mission is to direct US Naval Forces operating in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions and interact with partner nation navies within the maritime environment. Various operations include counter-illicit trafficking, Theater Security Cooperation, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, military-to-military interaction and bilateral and multinational training.