Exercise Bell Buoy 19 trains MTOs
More than 60 maritime trade operations (MTO) officers from ten navies have participated in the 2019 edition of the annual exercise Bell Buoy, the Royal Australian Navy announced on 24 May.
Exercise Bell Buoy 19 saw simulations of conflict between two countries in the Tasman Sea, piracy and the closure of Port Botany due to an underwater improvised explosive device.
Teams of MTO officers from the navies of Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA, Ecuador, Mexico, Brazil, South Korea, Fiji and France were deployed to the ports in Brisbane, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Auckland and Tauranga, New Zealand.
The two week exercise included joint ship visits with Australian Border Force officers in Port Botany, opportunities to work with clearance divers to reopen a mined port and an industry engagement day.
Commander David Neumann, exercise director, said: ‘The world’s oceans are only going to get more crowded as population grows and with that growth will come the need to make sure that maritime trade can continue in times of crisis, conflict or heightened risk. This is why the MTO capability is so important to maritime nations like ours.’
MTO officers are the link between naval operations and the commercial shipping industry, and in times of crisis, war, piracy or other armed conflict, MTOs work with industry to ensure the safety of sea farers and the continuation of trade.
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