On 24 August the Force Commanders of three key international Counter-Piracy task forces, EU Naval Force – Operation Atalanta (CTF-465), NATO Operation Ocean Shield (CTF-508) and Combined Task Force 151 (operated by the Combined Maritime Forces – CMF) met on board EU NAVFOR flagship, ITS San Giusto, to exchange experiences and further coordinate the continued fight against piracy.
ITS San Giusto briefly rendezvoused in the Gulf of Aden with HNLMS Rotterdam (NATO) and the ROKS Wang Geon (CTF-151) to allow the three Force Commanders to meet face to face and discuss current tactics.
Dutch CTF-508 Commander Commodore Ben Bekkering and CTF-151 Commander Rear Admiral Anho Chung from the Republic of Korea were welcomed by aboard the San Giusto by the Italian CTF-465 Commander Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino.
The three Counter-Piracy forces, or “big three”, communicate and coordinate their actions on a daily basis in order to enhance joint capabilities and effectiveness in deterring, disrupting and counteracting piracy. Although modern communications allow reliable long distance exchanges of data, face to face meetings are still regarded as crucial.
This was the second time that the three main Counter-Piracy forces met at sea, the first occurring two months ago onboard HNMLS Evertsen (former flagship of Ocean Shield-NATO Commander).
In their most recent meeting the Commanders agreed that the successes recently achieved by counter-piracy forces are related to an increased pressure on Somali pirates and their business model; nevertheless, they agreed, these results need to be maintained and there is no chance of letting their combined guards down. It was noted that Somali piracy can easily resurge again, and the recent spate of successes is still reversible.