Support: The Boarding Party Simulation


March 16, 2011: NATO has developed a game for training sailors boarding ships and searching for contraband. Using the same technology that powers commercial FPS (first person shooter) games, “Boarders Ahoy!” allows trainees to demonstrate that they have successfully learned the proper procedures for searching a ship. “Boarders Ahoy!” also allows boarding party members to experience dangerous situations (interference or violence from the crew, radioactive or dangerous chemical substances found, faulty equipment) without endangering anyone. Once trainees have demonstrated their mastery of all the needed skills, they then go through some of the same scenarios on a retired cargo ship NATO has rigged as a boarding party training vessel (at the training center in Crete.)

“Boarders Ahoy!” is an multiplayer online game that can be easily modified. The NATO ship inspection was set up in the Mediterranean after September 11, 2001, to detect dangerous materials (radioactive and chemical) and terrorists on merchant ships. However, the boarding party must have the permission of the ship's captain and the nation whose flag is sails under. That keeps the boarding parties off many suspicious ships. In fact, only 160 ships have been boarded and inspected in the last decade.



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