The Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Exercise-2021 held with the participation of Sri Lanka Navy, United States 7th Fleet and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) from 24th to 30th June 2021 in the Trincomalee harbour and off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka concluded on a successful note.
The closing ceremony of this multi-lateral naval exercise was held virtually at the Naval Dockyard, Trincomalee on 30th June 2021, under the auspices of Deputy Chief of Staff and Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral YN Jayarathne. Delivering the closing remarks on behalf of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet, Rear Admiral Sajith Gamage expressed his gratitude to all the participants of CARAT-21 and the supportive bodies for their unwavering commitment and dedication for the success of this naval exercise. Adding further, he expressed the aspiration for strong maritime partnerships among partner countries in similar endeavours in the future as well.
Working in coordinated deployment, 02 Offshore Patrol Vessels of Sri Lanka Navy, air assets of Sri Lanka Air Force, a Littoral Combat Ship, its ship borne helicopter and a Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the United States 7th Fleet, a destroyer and its ship borne helicopter of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force augmented CARAT-21.
The wide array of exercises including; Divisional Tactics (DIVTACs), Night Steaming, Replenishment at Sea (RAS), Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP), Deck Landing Qualifications (DLQs), Tracking Exercise (TRACKEX), Vessel Boarding Search and Seizure (VBSS), Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) etc. made way for the participants to hone their skills, learn each other’s tactics and gain a better understanding of the marine environment.
The exercise would also allow Sri Lanka Navy to enhance its capabilities, as how to coordinate assets and technology in complex maritime operations, while partnering with the United States 7th Fleet and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force.
On the flip side, the experience and tactics used by Sri Lanka Navy, which regularly conducts operations to combat wide ranging nefarious activities including drug trafficking and human smuggling in the Indian Ocean Region will be vital to the US Navy and Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force to promote secure seas in world over.
Moreover, CARAT-21 would offer insight into broader understanding of the Indian Ocean Region to the non-military participants – United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and EU Critical Maritime Route Wider Indian Ocean (EU CRIMARIO) who took part in the exercise, for them to endorse the security in the region.
Concluding the sea phase of exercise, an aerial Photo Exercise (PHOTOEX) was held and the naval units involved in CARAT–21, steam past saluting Deputy Area Commander, Commodore Janaka Nishshanka who was on SLNS Gajabahu.
The proceedings of the closing ceremony were held in compliance with COVID-19 protocols for the prevention of the spread of the pandemic. Deputy Chief of Staff of Sri Lanka Navy and Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral YN Jayarathne, Flag Officer Commanding Naval Fleet, Rear Admiral Sajith Gamage, Deputy Area Commander Eastern Naval Area, Commodore Janaka Nishshanka, Chief Office of Defence Cooperation at US Embassy for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Commander Ross Peters, Deputy Defence Attaché at US Embassy for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Ms. Karin Gleisner, training team of the Afloat Command and a limited group of officers from the Navy Headquarters and Eastern Naval Area were present at the closing ceremony.
Marking the culmination of CARAT-21 its partners present on the occasion were presented special mementoes by Deputy Chief of Staff and Commander Eastern Naval Area. As the closing ceremony had been organized in a virtual setting the rest of the partners of this naval exercise will be presented with their mementos in due course.