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U.S. Army Helps Set Up Mideast Maritime Security Program

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Col. John Conklin (U.S. Army) received three days’ notice before deploying to Bahrain to lead the setup of a headquarters operation for Operation Sentinel, the international mission to ensure freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf region. Conklin’s Joint Planning Support Element, or JPSE (pronounced “gypsy”) deploys on short notice to assist joint force commanders with establishing joint force headquarters. 

“It’s a tremendous tasking to stand up a coalition task force — with this unique mission, and the operating environment, but what we’re accomplishing is incredible,” Conklin said.

When he arrived in early October, Conklin served as the chief of staff of the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC). He integrated a U.S. joint team with officers from the Royal Navy to plan and stand up Coalition Task Force Sentinel, the military organization under IMSC. The coalition task force soon integrated another team from the Australian Navy. The team developed a plan, wrote an operations order and stood up IMSC. Bahrain joined the coalition in August. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates joined in September, and Albania, the newest member, joined in November.

In a little over two months, Conklin and his inter-agency crew built a joint force headquarters from nothing. Officially dubbed the IMSC, the U.S.-led coalition formally launched in November, opened a new command center at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain, and welcomed its first appointed commander, Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey. The IMSC leads Operation Sentinel, U.S. Central Command’s multinational maritime effort to ensure freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf region. Its mission is to protect freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, the Red Sea, the Straits of Hormuz and Bab el-Mandeb – a response to recent Iranian interference with merchant shipping. 

Countries that join the IMSC provide warships to escort their nation’s commercial vessels through the region. Through the construct, participating countries share information and surveillance in one of the most vital shipping lanes in the world. More than 17,000 ships per year pass through the Bab al-Mandeb and 42,000 through the Strait of Hormuz. 

“Coordinating with the various countries’ navies to provide vessels in the right place at the right time is a rewarding mission,” Conklin said. “I don’t think very many people in the Army ever get experience in this — where you are standing up an international maritime task force, where you watch allies join, and you see the impact you’re having.”

–The Maritme Executive

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Issue an executive order to decongest the ports, Reps tell Buhari

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House of Reps

The technical committee on customs and excise at the House of Representatives has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to issue an executive order to decongest the nation’s ports.

The committee made the recommendation to the federal government during a four-day oversight visit to the customs formations in Lagos which ended on Friday.

The order, the committee said, should direct the use of part of the revenue generated by the Nigeria Customs Service to carry out repairs on the access roads leading to the ports.

According to the committee, the nation is losing five times the amount of money that would have been generated from the ports due to bad roads and port congestion.

The committee also wants the President to immediately disband the Presidential Task Force on the decongestion of traffic at the Apapa Port.

The task force, the committee believes, has outlived its usefulness since it was inaugurated about two years ago.

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BREAKING: Supreme Court Rejects Shell’s Request To Vacate ₦17bn Judgement on Oil Spill

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oil spill

The Supreme Court has dismissed an application filed by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited seeking to set aside a January 11, 2019 judgement of the court upholding damages to the tune of N17bilion awarded against the oil company.

The apex court had on January 11, 2019 upheld an earlier judgment by the Court of Appeal, affirming a June 14, 2010 judgement of the Federal High Court which awarded the damages against Shell over an oil spill at Ejam-Ebulu in Tai Eleme Local Government Area of River State in 1970.

Dismissing the application on Friday, Justice Samuel Osuji who read the lead ruling of the Supreme Court’s panel prepared by Justice Centus Nweze, held that the application by Shell, asking it to revisit its earlier judgment, was unmeritorious.

Although the lawyer to Shell declined speaking to Journalists, lawyer to Ejam-Ebulu community, Mr Lucius Nwosu while applauding the verdict of the court said the judgment sum, with interest, now stands in the region of N160billion.

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