USNS Henson Participates in Oceanographic-Southern Partnership Station with Colombian Navy

Story Number: NNS100316-24Release Date: 3/16/2010 5:26:00 PM
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From U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs

MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- Military Sealift Command oceanographic survey ship USNS Henson (T-AGS 63) conducted bilateral exercises with the Colombian Navy as part of Oceanographic-Southern Partnership Station (O-SPS) 2010.

Henson arrived in Cartagena, Colombia on March 6, with hydrographers and a Fleet Survey Team from the Naval Oceanographic Office to work alongside the Colombian ship ARC Providencia. Together they conducted both at-sea and shore based joint survey demonstrations that concluded March 13.

Henson is one of seven oceanographic survey ships belonging to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command and operated for the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. The 329-foot ship is equipped with two hydrographic survey launches and Expeditionary Survey Vehicles (ESV). Their equipment includes multi-beam sounders, sidescan sonar and GPS systems.

The two ships conducted a joint, at-sea survey at a location selected by the Colombians. The data collected from the survey was used in a variety of workshops to facilitate the sharing of knowledge by subject matter experts between both navies.

Closer to shore, the Fleet Survey Team performed shallow water surveys with its two ESVs. The ESV provides direct support to naval operations by conducting rapid environmental assessments for beach landings, short notice check surveys to ensure safe navigation and other coastal and riverine uses.

This engagement provides a framework demonstrating how both navies perform their oceanographic and hydrographic surveys while sharing expertise and information regarding techniques. During the process, the scientists and Sailors gained a better understanding for each other's military and cultural customs.

The activities also emphasized respect for the Inter-American Democratic Charter, recognizing that 21st century challenges require multinational interagency cooperation.

"We value the strong partnership with Colombia, and seek to continue a broad range of Navy-to-Navy activities," said Cmdr. Oscar Monterossa, mission commander for the Colombian engagement.

Southern Partnership Station is a recurring deployment conducted by Commander U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO) and U.S. 4th Fleet (C4F) with a variety of different objectives.

NAVSO is the naval component command for U.S. Southern Command and is responsible for all naval personnel and assets in the area of focus. NAVSO conducts a variety of missions in support of the Maritime Strategy, including Theater Security Cooperation, relationship building, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, community relations, and counter-illicit trafficking operations.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit

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