By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Josh Cassatt
, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs
Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff
, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet and Royal Australian Navy Commodore Allan
, commander, Combined Task Force
(CTF) 158, visited Iraq's Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal (KAAOT) Nov. 16, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the implementation of facility upgrades.
The most significant improvement on KAAOT was the installation of the Tactical Operations Center
(TOC), which will serve as a permanent centralized command and control location to enhance Coalition coordination.
KAAOT and the Al Basrah Oil Terminal (ABOT) were previously administered from Ocean 6, a command and control barge supporting personnel assigned to protect the oil platforms. The TOC, which became operational Nov. 8, will now serve in that capacity with the departure of Ocean 6.
Other enhancements on KAAOT include improved safety standards, living conditions, platform access, streamlined manpower and operating costs. Improvements to both KAAOT and ABOT are ongoing, with a TOC to be built on ABOT and berthing and technical additions scheduled to be constructed on both facilities in coming months.
"The maritime strategy provides opportunities for military forces to work more closely with regional partners and allies to extend security," said Cosgriff. "Efforts to improve the quality of life for our Sailors while increasing the operational efficiency here are important."
Approximately 90 percent of Iraq's oil exports are transferred to ships via KAAOT and ABOT.
KAAOT and ABOT are situated off the coast of Iraq in the North Persian Gulf, which falls under the responsibility of CTF 158.
CTF 158's primary mission in the North Persian Gulf is maintaining security in and around both of the oil terminals in support of United Nation's Security Council Resolution 1723, which charges the multinational force with the responsibility and the authority to maintain security and stability in Iraqi territorial waters and also supports the Iraqi government's request for security support. CTF 158 is also training Iraqi marine
and navy forces to eventually take over the CTF 158 mission.