To increase the endurance of the Navy’s vessels, the Swedish Armed Forces and the Coast Guard work together. Within the framework of the Naval Exercise Autumn 23, towing and logistics exercises are carried out at sea.
The Coast Guard vessel KBV 031 is drifting without propulsion in the waters of southern Horsfjärden when the minesweeper HMS Koster approaches. It is the sixth day of the Naval Exercise Autumn 23 and the Navy and Coast Guard are training at sea. What is going on right now is an emergency towing exercise where HMS Koster will tow the coast guard vessel.
A sailor shoots a line thrower at the coast guard vessel. The line is attached to a slightly thicker rope, which in turn is attached to a strong towing rope. The crew of the Coast Guard vessel takes the line, rope home and attaches the tow rope to the ship’s bow. On the half-deck on board the minesweeper vessel, the deck crew ejects the tow rope.
“It’s important not to eject everything at once, as this can cause it to get tangled up in the ships’ propulsion systems,” says Tom, sonar officer and deck duty leader on HMS Koster.
After a few minutes, both the rope and the tow ropes are fed to the correct length. Towing can begin.
We often practice towing, but almost exclusively we practice with each other in the navy. It can be a completely different thing to do it with a ship that moves completely differently in the water. That’s why this towing exercise with the Coast Guard is so valuable, says Navy Captain Cecilia Eklund, ship commander on HMS Koster.
During the morning, the ships take turns towing each other. HMS Koster then docks at KBV 031. Docking means that one ship moors at another at sea. The coupling moment is part of a joint exercise aimed at creating the ability for the Coast Guard to be able to provide bunkers and transport materiel to the navy’s units at sea.
The Coast Guard is an authority that moves with its ships in the same areas as us. By being able to get bunkers and materiel from their ships, we gain greater endurance in the operational area, says naval captain Cecilia Eklund.
Before the ships undock, the crews carry out study visits to each other. The interest is great from both sides.
The coast guard is part of total defence. We are a cog in the big machine, so it means a lot to us to meet crew to crew during Marine exercise Autumn 23. Now we have both practiced emergency rescue and started to clarify what needs to be adapted to be able to provide bunkers at sea, says Patrick Dahlberg, commander of KBV 031.
Today’s exercise with the Coast Guard is over, HMS Koster has just disconnected KBV 031 and is on a northerly course towards Örlogshamn Berga. On deck, the sailors work to restore stations for coupling in the cool October sun. The last week’s strong winds have subsided and Horsfjärden is calm. The captain is standing on the bridge.
This exercise is valuable for us, both because it brings us closer to being able to bunker from the Coast Guard at sea, but also because we had the opportunity to get to know each other and gain an understanding of each other’s operations. I am most satisfied with the fact that we easily achieved a good exchange of exercises. There is an understanding and a willingness to cooperate between the navy and the Coast Guard, which makes it a pleasure to train together, says Navy Captain Cecilia Eklund.