American Forces Press Service
May 15, 2009 - The Iraqi navy reached a critical milestone today by receiving its first patrol ship from an Italian shipbuilder here. Patrol Ship 701 – named Fatah, meaning "Conquer" or "Victory" -- is the first of four ships built under a contract with the Fincantieri Shipyard here, and will be designated as the flagship of the Iraqi navy.
Fatah's 34-member crew traveled to Italy in January to begin their training on the ship. The training encompassed all aspects of shipboard operations to ensure the crew will be ready to sail from Italy to Umm Qasr, Iraq. The lengthy transit will be the Iraqi navy crew's first opportunity to develop confidence with their new ship during their 5,100–nautical-mile, 29-day voyage.
Fatah's voyage will begin in Italy, transit the Mediterranean Sea, pass through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea, and ultimately around the Arabian Peninsula to the port of Umm Qasr. The Italian navy will provide an escort ship to continue training opportunities and coordinate interactions with coalition warships with U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S Naval Forces Central Command.
The Iraqi crew's interaction with international navies in the NAVEUR and NAVCENT areas of operation is a training opportunity for them to build confidence and assist with the Iraqi navy mission of taking responsibility for maritime security in December 2011.
Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq's Coalition Naval Advisory and Training Team is formulating a long range training plan with the Iraqi navy. The goal is to develop a capable and responsive force, properly organized, trained, equipped, stationed, and sustained with appropriate procedures to support naval forces conducting maritime security operations in the region.
(From a Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq news release).