Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team returns from 4-month deployment in Middle East

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
LOS ANGELES – A Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team (AIT) returned home from a four-month counter piracy deployment to the Middle East, June 29th. The team was comprised of three units: Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) Los Angeles-Long Beach, MSST San Diego, and the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team (PACTACLET) out of San Diego.

Under the direction of the U. S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, the team served aboard the U.S. Naval guided missile destroyer USS Stockdale, working side by side with the ship’s Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team assigned to Combined Task Force 151.

“Our teams have the ability to deploy worldwide to conduct a variety of higher-threat boarding scenarios,” said Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Margita, commanding officer for MSST LA-LB.

While on board the Stockdale, the team’s primary mission was to fight maritime terrorism and counter piracy. Together, the AIT and VBSS conducted joint training for counter piracy, illegal activity interdictions, and boardings. The training also included space accountability for hidden compartments, mock medical emergencies, and planning and executing mission contingencies.

CTF-151 is a multi-national task force working under Combined Maritime Forces to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Augmented by members from the Coast Guard, the joint-unit team was engaged in stemming illegal piracy and armed robbery at sea.

The Stockdale is a is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in the United States Navy homeported in San Diego, and is scheduled to return home later in the year.

MSST Los Angeles-Long Beach and San Diego were created under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 in direct response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and is a part of the Department of Homeland Security’s layered strategy directed at protecting seaports and waterways.

MSSTs provide waterborne and a shore-side antiterrorism force protection for strategic shipping, high-interest vessels and critical infrastructure. Eleven MSSTs are strategically positioned throughout the nation. These units are a quick response force capable of rapid worldwide deployment via air, ground or sea transportation in response to changing threat conditions and evolving maritime homeland security mission requirements.

PACTACLET has deployed aboard U.S. and allied naval vessels to conduct and support maritime law enforcement and drug interdiction operations since its establishment.

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