MANTA, Ecuador - Guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) hosted Ecuadorian navy officers for a tour while pierside in Manta, Ecuador, Aug. 1 as part of Southern Seas 2011.
Eight officers met with Thach leadership and walked through spaces around the ship. They completed the tour with lunch and a gift exchange in the wardroom.
"This tour provided an opportunity for the Ecuadorian navy officers to view the frigate's capabilities and equipment," said Cmdr. Jeff Scudder, Thach's commanding officer. "The Ecuadorians are looking for ways to work with the Navy and interoperate with our systems for counter-illicit trafficking, anti-surface warfare, maritime security and surface surveillance."
The tour began in the ship's combat information center, where the officers were briefed on Thach's multi-mission capabilities and information processing.
"In the Ecuadorian navy, we are working on improving and upgrading the command and control systems and the communications systems," said Ecuadorian navy Lt. Cmdr. Carlos Lopez. "The goal of this tour was to see how the U.S. Navy's systems compare to ours and to get an idea of how these systems can work for us."
The tour took the Ecuadorian officers through the ship's main engine spaces, mess deck, berthing, damage control and supply store rooms. The group also viewed the exterior of the ship and was briefed on the ship's various communications arrays and weapons systems.
"This class of frigate was designed as a multi-functional and multi-mission ship," said Lopez. "I found it very interesting how the U.S. Navy installs various equipment in one ship to do many different operations."
After the tour, the officers gathered in the wardroom for lunch and discussed the differences and commonality between the navies and how each operates.
"These face-to-face meetings are beneficial because it gives us a chance to exchange ideas and discuss common security concerns," said Scudder. "Meeting in person allows us to get a better understanding and build trust with our maritime partners."
Thach arrived in Manta for a brief stop for fuel and supplies during their deployment for Southern Seas 2011. Southern Seas is a six-month deployment culminating with the multi-national exercise PANAMAX in mid-August.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.