National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA partners with NATO on first-ever maritime pilot course

September 30, 2019

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NNSA partnered with NATO to complete its first-ever Maritime Pilot course. Here, a maritime search team moves to the training vessels during the capstone exercise of the training program.
a maritime search team moves to the training vessels during the capstone exercise of the training program.
NNSA partnered with NATO to complete its first-ever Maritime Pilot course. Here, the Spectral Advanced Radiological Computing System used during maritime search operations on a Rubberized Hardened Inflatable Boat.
The Spectral Advanced Radiological Computing System used during maritime search operations on a Rubberized Hardened Inflatable Boat.

NNSA partnered with NATO to complete its first-ever Maritime Pilot course, “Radiological Threats in a Maritime Environment,” at Souda Bay Naval Base in Crete, Greece, Sept. 9-13.  Department of Energy and NNSA subject matter experts delivered the course content, which focused on searching for and identifying illicit radiological sources in commercial maritime settings.

NATO’s Maritime Interdiction and Operational Training Facility hosted the training program for 29 participants from nine different nations: Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, the Netherlands, Turkey, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The global prevalence of commercially available radiological sources and maritime transportation of goods makes this type of training crucial to prevent the malicious use of radioactive materials.

Andrae Brooks explaining NNSA’s role in supporting NATO with emergency preparedness and response training.
Andrae Brooks explaining NNSA’s role in supporting NATO with emergency preparedness and response training.

“NNSA’s Office of Nuclear Incident Policy and Cooperation is looking to form a partnership with this facility because it’s one of the best maritime training centers in the world,” said NNSA Foreign Affairs Specialist Andrae Brooks. “The facility provides a unique and world-class maritime training environment, and NATO shares NNSA’s global outlook on supporting  realistic, adaptive training for international partners.”

The Pilot Course included lectures, table-top exercises, hands-on equipment demonstrations, and practical training on Rubberized Hardened Inflatable Boats, or RHIBs. The Greek naval training vessels Aeres and Akylon were used to conduct radiological search exercises using NNSA’s specialized tools. Participants enhanced their knowledge of radiation detectors and radiation protection concepts, radiation search techniques, and detection strategies. The course also provided opportunities to prepare, plan, and provide command and control activities for radiation emergency response operations.

NNSA partnered with NATO to complete its first-ever Maritime Pilot course. Here, small work groups tackle maritime planning operations during a tabletop exercise.
Small work groups tackle maritime planning operations during a tabletop exercise.

The Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency provided radiological sources and radiological safety subject matter expertise to round out the multinational presence.

NNSA is expanding and aligning its NATO portfolio of radiological courses to support nations in the Partnership for Peace, Partners Around the Globe, Mediterranean Dialogue, and Istanbul Cooperative Initiative.

Click here to visit NNSA’s website and learn more about Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation efforts.

NNSA partnered with NATO to complete its first-ever Maritime Pilot course. Course participants pose for a group photo at Souda Bay Naval Base in Greece
The course participants at Souda Bay Naval Base in Greece.