Tunisian naval officer completes Fleet School training

Captain (N) (Ret’d) Kevin Greenwood, Naval Instructor at Naval Training Development Centre (Pacific) presents Tunisian naval officer Lt(N) Khayri Bouzaiene with his Command Development Course certificate at the Collier Building at Work Point. Photo by Peter Mallett, Lookout Newspaper

Captain (N) (Ret’d) Kevin Greenwood, Naval Instructor at Naval Training Development Centre (Pacific) presents Tunisian naval officer Lt(N) Khayri Bouzaiene with his Command Development Course certificate at the Collier Building at Work Point. Photo by Peter Mallett, Lookout Newspaper

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

naval officer from Tunisia recently became the first international participant to enrol and graduate from Naval Fleet School Pacific’s Command Development Course (CDC).

Just ahead of the holiday break course instructor Captain (ret’d) Kevin Greenwood of the Naval Training Development Centre (NTDC) (Pacific) presented Tunisian naval officer Lieutenant (Navy) Khayri Bouzaiene with his course certificate at the Collier building. It brought to a conclusion the 32-year-old’s first-ever visit to Canada and also his first-ever experience commanding a vessel of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). Lt(N) Bouzaiene who mostly speaks Arabic and some French gave a highly positive review of his experience prior to his departure on Dec. 14 while also stating his unfamiliarity with English wasn’t a deterrent to his learning.

“I really liked my experience here in Victoria and the Royal Canadian Navy was an impressive organization to learn from,” said Lt(N) Bouzaiene. “The people were wonderful and very helpful and when I didn’t understand something and the communication gap got in the way they were there to help.”

The aim of the ten-week program says Greenwood is to develop senior RCN lieutenants the Command-level knowledge, leadership, appreciation, critical analysis and decision-making skills necessary to successfully command HMC Ships. Components of the course include leadership skills such as command and control and decision making, collision avoidance, bridge resource management, seamanship and ship handling, maritime law, use of force, damage control, logistics, administration, engineering and maintenance. The program culminates in a two-week at-sea phase aboard Orca-class training vessels.

Lt(N) Bouzaiene, has enjoyed a 14-year career in the Tunisian Navy and had an edge over many of the other 14 students taking the course. That’s because he has commanded a Tunisia navy patrol boat for the past two years. Although there were some topics covered, such as towing operations, that he was unfamiliar with, for the most part it was old hat for him.

One new facet for him was some of the technology he encountered during the course, including the NTDC(P) ship simulators where students learn to manoeuver and execute operational plans.

“The simulator is very impressive and gives you the exact feeling of being on the bridge of a ship including the impact of the winds and currents on the vessel,” said Lt(N) Bouzaiene. “But the best part of the course for me was when we got to go out on the sea and practice what we learned in real-life situations.”

Lt(N) Bouzaiene noted the stark differences between sailing a vessel in Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean including the number of days with poor visibility and fog, which is uncommon to him. Other struggles included coming to terms with a whole different list of naval terminology specific to the RCN. None of it seemed a major stumbling block for him because the other students were able to help says Greenwood.

“It was quite clear from the beginning that Lieutenant Bouzaiene has a lot of experience in ship handling which gave him an edge over the other students but he also became someone they could also learn from,” said Greenwood.

Greenwood once participated in a similar exchange with the Royal Australian Navy and says he fully backs the idea of cultural exchanges.

“I had sympathy and full understanding of the challenges he faced because as a junior officer I was also involved in similar cultural exchange when I spent a year as the only officer aboard an Australian ship,” said Greenwood.

The Canadian Armed Forces relationship with the Tunisian military began in 2017 as their new democratic government looked to build new international partnership. A Canadian delegation led by Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic (MARLANT) Rear-Admiral Craig Alan Baines discussed the idea of a cultural exchange and in the end a deal was struck to get the first Tunisian naval officer into the CDC program.

Greenwood says Tunisia won’t be the only nation to participate in the CDC as a similar cultural exchange will take place in April 2020, when a Moroccan sailor will be enrolled in the CDC. For more information about the CDC visit the webpage:  https://collaboration-navy-marine.forces.mil.ca/sites/NPTG/NFS/NFSP/NWOCDC/SitePages/Home.aspx

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author: The Lookout Newspaper can trace its history back to April 1943 when CFB Esquimalt’s first newspaper was published. Since then, Lookout has grown into the award winning source for Pacific Navy News. Leading the way towards interactive social media reach, we are a community resource newspaper growing a world wide audience.

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