Fleet Contingency Troop
The Fleet Contingency Troop (FCT) - sometimes referred to as the Fleet Contingent Troop - is a specialised unit drawn from the Fleet Standby Rifle Troops of S Squadron, 43 Commando.
The FCT specialises in non-compliant boarding operations, with a current focus on boarding pirate-held vessels. They are trained to carry out boarding up to Level 3 (boardings against non-compliant pirates) and 3+ (non-compliant pirates with crew in secure area of ship). Level 4 boardings, which feature non-compliant pirates holding hostages are typically carried out by Special Forces.
FCT personnel are experts in boarding vessels from both surface boats such as rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and offshore raiding craft (OCR) and by fast-roping from Royal Navy helicopters such as the Lynx Mk 8 and Merlin. Maritime Sniper Teams frequently provide top cover for FCT boarding operations.
Since being deployed off the Horn Of Africa as part of multi-national counter-piracy efforts, they have intercepted and boarded numerous pirate ships. Typically operating from Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxillary vessels such as HMS Somerset and RFA Fort Victoria, FCT Royal Marines have been involved in a series of incidents:
- Royal Marines Snipers Help Capture Pirates
- Royal Marines Capture Pirate Mothership
- Royal Marines Raid Pirate Mothership
- 'British Special Forces' Storm Hijacked Ship
- Royal Marines Rescue Hostages
The FCT provided a quick reaction force for Operation Olympic, the security operation for the 2012 London Olympics. In a demonstration in early 2012, Royal Marines with 539 Assault Squadron, the FCT and members of the Met firearms unit, SCO19 and Marine Policing Unit, intercepted, boarded and secured a simulated terrorst-held vessel on the Thames.
- Watch video of FCT during Thames demonstration
- Marines practice for Olympic terror threat on River Thames
Fleet Contingency Troop Training
FCT personnel undergo training that includes a Royal Marines Boarding Course (RMBC) (non-compliant). This is a 5-week course held at HMNB Clyde. Royal Marines passing the course gain the Royal Marines Boarding Operator qualification. They then move on to more advanced training via a Level 3 Boarding Operators Course. FCT operators become highly proficient in close-quarter-battle (CQB), the use of small arms and high threat non-compliant boardings.
Sailing new waters - Enhanced counter piracy operations
(A L Day, D A Newman, R M Heames, J E Risdall)