Code of Conduct to build on the international success
in combating piracy off the coast of Somalia.
The International Maritime Organization said coun-terpiracy program efforts are transitioning toward developing sustainable measures to prevent the re-emergence
of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the region.
Pavlopoulos said numerous government labs, academic
institutions and commercial activities come to Souda Bay
for test and evaluation of new equipment and concepts.
One example is PROMERC, or Protection Measures
for Merchant Ships, a European Union research project to
make merchant ships safer and more secure against the
threat of criminal abduction and extortion. PROMERC is
developing automated voyage planning and decision-support tools to give mariners a real-time threat assessment and recommend courses of action.
Another is a project with the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) in La
Spezia, Italy, where boarding teams can stream real-time
video, to include biometrics, back to the mothership. A
prototype wearable Tactical Video System was created
by CMRE and successfully tested at NMIOTC in 2014,
where it proved to be an interoperability tool able to
bridge the “last tactical mile” between the boarding
team and the command chain. CMRE also collaborates
with NMIOTC in PROMERC.
NMIOTC also is taking part in a U.S.-sponsored
joint capability technology demonstration called C-
3PO that uses satellites’ web-based systems to share
and exploit boarding team data, to include biometrics
verification feedback, to the team.
The U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory are using the NMIOTC
facilities to test maritime-sourced nuclear and radiological threat detection and interdiction.
The islands permit various pirate or terrorist camps
to be set up, and to train teams in disruption of pirate
logistics dumps that is included in the European
Union’s Naval Forces mission.
The combination of simulators and actual training
platforms allows NMIOTC to provide mission
rehearsals for potential hostage release or capturing
pirates who have seized a ship.
“We can also send mobile training teams [MTTs] to
provide training at the user’s premises,” Pavlopoulos
said. “But MTTs are not as good as getting the training
here, as they cannot benefit of the assets and features of
There are other training locations for boarding teams,
such as the U.S. Navy Afloat Training Group Pacific’s
“Ship in a Box” in San Diego. Space and Naval Warfare
Command has experimented with different technologies
to assist boarding teams using the Afloat Training
The U.S. Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
offers the Commercial Vessel Boarding Training
Program at Charleston, S.C., to deliver extensive hands-on practice for military, federal, state and local law
enforcement officers in boarding and searching “
high-interest vessels.” Training is conducted aboard a 494-
foot break-bulk freighter.
Recognizing that MIOs are stressful, there are courses
on boarding team psychology so teams can understand
how they will act under pressure, and how the people
on the ships they board are likely to respond.
“How can the boarding team tell who is the real leader,
or someone who may be a terrorist who has coerced the
crew not to give his true identity away? There is a whole
science around this that our naval unit crews do not
know. We can teach them how to read body language, and
give them some skills that law enforcement knows but are
not usually possessed by the military,” Pavlopoulos said.
The legal dimension also has grown in importance.
Teams need to know international law.
“You don’t want a judge to let the bad guys go,” he said.
“And you don’t want to be sued by the bad guys.”
“It is not rare that criminal prosecution fails because
arrests, investigative steps and handovers are carried
out not in full adherence of human rights and relevant
laws,” Campagna said. ;
Retired Navy CAPT Edward Lundquist reported on this story
from Souda Bay, Crete, Greece.
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 44 SEAPOWER / APRIL 2015
U.S. Marines assigned to the Marine Corps Security Force
Europe’s Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team practice crew
control techniques at the NATO Maritime Interdiction Operational Training Center in Souda Bay, Greece, Aug. 22, 2013.