JHSV provides a valuable multimission platform for
“The operational flexibility to specifically support
operations with our Africa partners and at the appropri-
ate level of operations is pretty important to us. Our
African partners, from what I’ve seen in my last two
years here, are working hard to improve their maritime
security operations,” Rinko said. “And a JHSV provides
a unique platform that can support that training. We
can embark adaptive force packages and personnel to
execute real-time law enforcement operations and pro-
vide for onboard real-time training that can help sup-
port our African partners in improving their ability to
execute their maritime security operations.”
Rinko said working with Gulf of Guinea partners
was personally gratifying.
“They’re maritime professionals just like us. They have
intense desire to improve their nation’s ability to execute
maritime security operations, and they are very much engaged in the exercise and improving their regional information sharing ability. It was great to be able to interact,
and exchange ideas and information with them,” he said.
Since the previous year, Rinko noticed an improvement in information sharing inside the regional framework set up by the Yaoundé Code of Conduct.
The Yaoundé Code of Conduct, also known as the
Yaoundé Declaration, was signed June 2013 by members
of the Economic Community of Central African States,
Economic Community of West African States and the
Gulf of Guinea Commission following a conference on
maritime safety and security in Yaoundé, Cameroon. It is
modeled on the Djibouti Code of
Conduct, enacted by East African
nations and concerns the prevention
of piracy, armed robbery against
ships and illicit maritime activity in
west and central Africa.
Normally, permanently estab-
lished shore-based coastal radars or
the Automatic Identification System
transponder sites ashore are limited
on how far they can see. The ability
for a ship to share what it was seeing
with its Maritime Operations Center
(MOC) over a VHF channel to ex-
pand the range and the vision of the
MOC is a big deal in the region.
“This year’s exercise was the
first time African naval ships were
able to share radar data with shore-
based MOCs. They were using the
technology that was available to
expand the horizon, or the capabil-
ity, of their shore-based infrastruc-
ture to see farther out and monitor more of their own
waters,” Rinko said.
“The desire for engagement only continues to increase,
and the schedules that we developed have continued to
get busier and more complex. And at least over the next
couple of years, JHSV will provide a platform that will
allow us to provide that unique operational flexibility to
embark the appropriate adaptive force packages to go exe-
cute the mission, even as it continues to grow in complex-
ity and in capacity,” he said. “It’s a unique vessel, and
we’ve just begun to tap into her potential.”
“Our JHSV is an amazing cargo hauler, able to travel at
35-plus knots for long distances carrying up to 600 tons
of wheeled and tracked vehicles that come aboard using a
large stern ramp,” said RADM Thomas K. Shannon, com-
mander of Military Sealift Command. “They combine
high-speed, agile-lift capability with a 20,000-square foot
mission bay that can quickly be reconfigured for a wide
range of missions, including sustainment, humanitarian
assistance and special operations support.
“The ship’s flight deck is certified to handle a wide
variety of aircraft, including a CH- 53 Super Stallion.
This flexibility means quicker, more effective response
to mission tasking,” he said. “Add to this a shallow
draft of 15 feet and you’ve got austere port capability.
And we get all of this at a reasonable cost. Fleet commanders around the world are very interested in ‘
having one of their own JHSVs.’” ■
Retired Navy CAPT Edward Lundquist reported from
Washington and Naples, Italy, for this report.
Nigerian military forces conduct bilateral visit, board, search and seizure training aboard the Military Sealift Command joint high-speed vessel USNS
Spearhead in the Gulf of Guinea March 20 during the maritime security exercise Obangame Express 2015.