USS PORTER, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) conducted training while underway Jan. 18.
Porter is underway in the Atlantic Ocean to better prepare for real-world threats it may encounter on deployment.
Maritime interception operations require VBSS teams to intercept and determine the nature of vessels of interest. VBSS teams will board and search these vessels to determine if the vessel is hostile, said Ensign Bo Doran, the VBSS officer aboard Porter.
"Training works to prepare the team mentally and physically for real-world events," said Doran. "The VBSS teams need to train in order to develop the proficiency necessary to carry out missions effectively."
The 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation are primarily where the VBSS team will combat trafficking and piracy.
Piracy and the threat of terrorist activity impede commerce between the U.S. and its allies, said Fire Controlman 1st Class Christian A. Echeverri, a senior member of Porter's VBSS team.
"In the Mediterranean we encounter a lot of trafficking of drugs, oil and sometimes even weapons," said Echeverri. "When we are in 5th Fleet we focus on piracy, protecting our allies' waterways and helping vessels in distress."
VBSS teams also establish positive relationships with local militaries. These relationships improve cooperation when there are reports of pirates or other illegal activities in the area.
Sailors must meet specific pre-requisites, including weapons qualifications, physical fitness standards and swimming proficiency before they join a VBSS team
"Serving on the VBSS team is a tremendous responsibility but it's a real honor and a privilege to be entrusted with such responsibility," Doran said.
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