Enhanced naval boarding party on HMCS Charlottetown trains with Royal Danish Navy

Three sailors in a boat, with a fourth climbing a ladder out.
Members of the Royal Danish Navy's Boarding Party climb-up Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Charlottetown as part of a cross nation training exercise during Operation REASSURANCE on September 18, 2017. Image by Corporal J.W.S. Houck - Formation Imaging Services


By Lieutenant (N) Meghan Jacques and Leading Seaman Richard Donafeld, Operation REASSURANCE Maritime Task Force

Taking advantage of their time operating closely with NATO allies, the enhanced naval boarding party deployed on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown recently facilitated a combined team training exercise for the Royal Danish Navy’s boarding team from Her Danish Majesty’s Ship (HDMS) Niels Juel.

Royal Canadian Navy ships each have a boarding party made up of crew members who have other primary duties. An enhanced naval boarding party is an additional team with specialized skills. It works with the regular boarding party to enhance the ship’s maritime interdiction operation capability. During this exercise, the enhanced naval boarding party worked with HMCS Charlottetown boarding party and the Danish boarding party, sharing knowledge and learning a different perspective.

“This combined training with our Danish counterparts expands our team’s way of thinking and problem solving, while allowing us to see challenges in the maritime environment from a different angle and cultural perspective,” said Lieutenant (N) Jacob Killawee, Enhanced Naval Boarding Party Team Lead.

“The Danish sailors are a class act bunch and were always eager to learn more. Meeting new people from different countries is always a great part about our job, as we get to go to work and be presented with new challenges every day,” he added.

The Royal Danish Navy’s boarding team has ten members, including one boarding officer and one assistant boarding officer. They visited HMCS Charlottetown on September 18 and 19, 2017, to participate in the exercise.

The training consisted of round-robin style stations, spanning topics including medical considerations, close quarter battle, tactical movement, personnel handling, small arms weapons training and search techniques. As part of the first training day, the Royal Danish Navy’s boarding team demonstrated their national doctrine, and the enhanced naval boarding party demonstrated Canadian procedures, highlighting recommended modifications to their methodology that could allow their team to conduct boardings more safely and efficiently.

Over the course of the two-day training program, the enhanced naval boarding party coached their own team and the Danish team through weapons handling, close quarters battle, use of force, personnel handling, and casualty scenarios. They practiced moving through a boarded ship safely and securely, moving up and down through ladders and hatches, extracting casualties from difficult spaces, detaining non-compliant personnel, and engaging in escalation of force scenarios simulating a hostile boarding environment.

The goal of this capacity-building training exercise was to share knowledge and best practices between the boarding teams of these two NATO countries.

Not only was the two-day session successful in its goal to improve interoperability, it was extremely useful for the enhanced naval boarding party to have the opportunity to be exposed to another country’s approach to boarding operations.

On August 8, 2017, HMCS Charlottetown deployed to the Baltic Sea on Operation REASSURANCE, joining Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1). SNMG1 is a naval force made up of ships from NATO countries that are working together to reassure allies in the region of NATO’s intent to support their stability and security. HMCS Charlottetown is the seventh Royal Canadian Navy ship tasked to Operation REASSURANCE.

Image gallery

  • three sailors in kit with a helicopter hovering nearby.
  • A sailor descends a ladder to an enclosed space with another sailor behind him.
  • Three sailors in a boat, with a fourth climbing a ladder out.
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