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Published:November 27th, 2006 03:29 EST
BOXERESG Begins Maritime Security Operations

BOXERESG Begins Maritime Security Operations

By SOP newswire


USS Boxer, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Boxer (LHD 4) Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) began maritime security operations (MSO) in the North Persian Gulf in support of U.S. 5th Fleet Nov. 21 through 24.

Coalition forces conduct MSO under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.

BOXESG has been serving alongside the Afloat Forward Staging Base Ocean 6 patrolling the waters near Al Basra Oil Terminal (ABOT) and Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal (KAAOT). Ocean 6 is the command and control platform responsible for coordinating all MSO activity with coalition forces in the region, focusing on protecting ABOT and KAAOT.

The terminals are the maritime element of Iraqi economic development, which makes them a target for terrorism.

Our main mission here is security, " said Lt. Mary Elizabeth Southwell, operations officer for Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 5 aboard Boxer. Supporting MSO enhances the security of the [Persian] Gulf states and Iraq in particular. "

BOXESG ships and coalition forces track, warn and board ships sailing too close to the oil platforms and ensure they pose no threat. Their presence ensures the safety of legitimate sea traffic in the North Persain Gulf.

MSO is the key to keeping the [Persian] Gulf safe for commercial traffic, " said Capt. David Angood, commander of BOXESG and commodore of PHIBRON 5. Terrorism at sea here has global implications. Our support of MSO is the most important thing we can do to deter our enemies and provide the Iraqi people an opportunity for self-determination. "

BOXESG`s protection of ABOT and KAAOT directly contributes to Iraq`s growth, development and economic success since 90 percent of Iraq`s gross national product comes from these platforms.

The money generated by KAAOT and ABOT was once taken for private use, " said Southwell. Our presence here helps ensure the money goes to the Iraqi government. "

Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander U.S. 5th Fleet`s area of responsibility encompasses about 7.5 million square miles and includes the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 27 countries, includes three critical chokepoints at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

Source: By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Joshua Valcarcel, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs