NATO Danish and Chinese ships conduct combined sea training during NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD
GULF OF ADEN – This week the Danish Navy vessel HDMS ABSALON and the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy guided-missile LIUZHOU took part in a mutual training session in the Gulf of Aden keeping collaboration and partnership as their main focal point.
The sea training was set in motion by the Chinese boarding team fast roping onto ABSALON helicopter deck followed by the Danish special boat team launching its Rigid Hull Inflated Boat carrying a platoon of the Danish Navy's Special Forces. The team promptly headed for the Chinese frigate where the Chinese Special Forces awaited their arrival. Once the Chinese ship was reached each member of the Danish team climbed onboard by means of a small stepladder stretching from the helicopter deck to sea level.
On the helicopter deck the Danish Special Forces were welcomed by their Chinese counterparts. Handshakes were given and photos taken before a key component of the day's training could begin: Combined close quarter combat training in sections of the Chinese ship. With the help of a translator and a range of hand signals the Danish and Chinese Special Forces made their way together from the helicopter deck towards the bridge of the Chinese frigate. At the bridge both teams were greeted by the Commanding Officer of LIUZHOU, who took the time to address the Danish Special Forces and call attention to the unique event. Further close quarter combat training followed before both teams arrived on the helicopter deck to shake hands one final time and part ways with an improved understanding of each team's collective and individual strengths.
With the Special Forces portion of the training complete both ships took the opportunity to conduct a pair of replenishment-at-sea approaches. Side-by-side the two ships could easily simulate the complicated procedure of refuelling whilst cruising – a vital technique to master when operating at sea for a prolonged period of time.
The day finished with CDR Per Moll Petersen, the Commanding Officer of ABSALON, being transferred by helicopter to LIUZHOU joined by two officers and five enlisted crew members from the Danish vessel. On completion of the visit CO ABSALON said of the day's talks and combined sea training: "The opportunity to train and liaise with independent deployers in the region - especially the Chinese - is most welcome. Today's exercise has shown that even more advanced boarding serials and helicopter operations can be part of this type of exercise environment. This only strengthens interoperability and mutual understanding among operators as well as gaining knowledge of each other capabilities within the counter-piracy community".