USS John C. Stennis Hosts Maritime Law Symposium

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
By Lt. Nathan Christensen, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS (NNS) --Combined Task Force (CTF) 152 hosted a maritime law symposium aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) for business leaders while in port at the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command area of responsibility June 11. The symposium was designed to generate a friendly dialogue between CTF 152 and the larger maritime and merchant community within the region. CTF 152 operates in the southern and central Persian Gulf conducting maritime operations. “The sea is the great equalizer of us all,” said Capt. Michael Salvato, commander, Combined Task Group 152.0. “Whether you’re involved in commercial shipping or are serving aboard a coalition naval vessel, we’re all mariners working together to ensure a stable maritime environment where trade is able to flow freely.” Stennis hosted more than 25 personnel from a variety of shipping companies who are active in the region and with whom coalition forces routinely interface with throughout the CTF 152 area of operation (AOO). “We’re here to help stabilize the region,” said Salvato. “Bringing everyone together in a forum like this helps coalition forces explain to commercial mariners what we’re doing, why we’re doing [it] to get ideas for how better to conduct operations here in the future.”

A primary goal of the conference was to discuss the legal underpinnings that frame maritime operations in CTF 152’s AOO and establish greater understanding thereby promoting cooperative relations with mariners and vessels operating in the region. “Communication, engagement and interaction between coalition naval forces and civilian mariners are critical to ensuring that the conditions for security and stability can be met in the maritime domain,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Boveri, a judge advocate general assigned to Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 3 serving as one of the symposium’s presenters. “We’re here to help preserve freedom of navigation on the high seas and use of the world’s oceans by commercial shipping entities in accordance with international law.” Coalition forces conduct maritime operations under international conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that all commercial shipping can operate freely while transiting the region.

Maritime operations help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists the use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material. Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, Commander CSG 3 embarked aboard Stennis, assumed command of CTF 152 April 24. “We are committed to conducting maritime operations in this region so that trade, which is critically important to the economies of the world, can flow freely,” said Quinn. “We are committed to the security and stability of the region so that the countries of the Middle East can be prosperous and that the people of the region will have hope and see a brighter future.”

Stennis serves as the flagship for the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, which includes Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), guided-missile destroyers USS O’Kane (DDG 77) and USS Preble (DDG 88), and the fast combat-support ship USNS Bridge (T-AOE 10).

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