UK — Royal Navy trains refurbished Iraqi ship’s crew

Now repair work on the Iraqi Navy Ship (INS) Nass­er has come to an end, Roy­al Navy per­son­nel have been train­ing the ship’s crew so they can take her out to defend and patrol Iraq’s ter­ri­to­r­i­al waters. 

Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission personnel instruct Iraqi sailors in how to effect a stern ramp launch
Iraqi Train­ing and Advi­so­ry Mis­sion per­son­nel instruct Iraqi sailors in how to effect a stern ramp launch
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

Around 100 Roy­al Naval per­son­nel are cur­rent­ly based at the main Iraqi naval base in the south­ern port of Umm Qasr, work­ing along­side US col­leagues to train and men­tor the Iraqi Navy as part of the UK-led Iraqi Train­ing and Advi­so­ry Mis­sion — Navy (ITAM‑N).

A team of eight Roy­al Navy and US per­son­nel from this mis­sion have been run­ning INS Nasser’s crew through a series of train­ing evo­lu­tions cov­er­ing sea­man­ship, nav­i­ga­tion, weapons-han­dling, anchor­ing, fire­fight­ing, dam­age con­trol and engi­neer­ing casu­al­ty control. 

INS Nass­er has sat along­side since being ’side-swiped’ by a drift­ing freighter last Jan­u­ary while berthed in Umm Qasr. She is one of four Ital­ian-built Saet­tia Class patrol ves­sels oper­at­ed by the Iraqi Navy in the Gulf. 

Now look­ing her best after sig­nif­i­cant repair work in a local ship­yard, she has been brought back home and is just wait­ing for her crew to be trained to a stan­dard where they can oper­ate the ship safe­ly and take her out to defend and patrol Iraq’s ter­ri­to­r­i­al waters. 

The train­ing team is led by Lieu­tenant Lars Lone of the Unit­ed States Navy. He said: 

“The train­ing was inten­sive and we kept them very busy. They worked hard and the instruc­tors from the Iraqi Train­ing and Advi­so­ry Mis­sion in Umm Qasr were impressed with their efforts.” 

Part of the sea­man­ship train­ing involved the launch and recov­ery of the patrol ship’s rigid-hulled inflat­able boat via the ship’s stern ramp. 

Led by the Roy­al Navy’s Pet­ty Offi­cer Emma Mitchell, the Iraqi crew suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed sev­er­al seri­als, cul­mi­nat­ing in a demand­ing launch and recov­ery at sea. Pet­ty Offi­cer Mitchell said: 

“It was great to see such a unique way to launch and recov­er a boat; I am sure that our navy could learn a lot from this.” 

Iraq’s abil­i­ty to rebuild its infra­struc­ture and ser­vices after decades of neglect is heav­i­ly depen­dent on income from oil exports. And so it is vital that the Iraqi Navy quick­ly devel­ops its capac­i­ty to pro­tect their own ter­ri­to­r­i­al waters and off­shore oil plat­forms from which 80 per cent of their oil is exported. 

At the moment Roy­al Navy ships con­tin­ue to pro­tect Iraq’s off­shore oil plat­forms while Roy­al Navy and US per­son­nel bring the Iraqi Navy up to speed via the ITAM‑N.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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