The commander of the Singapore-led Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) visited the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) ship Munmu the Great in the Gulf of Aden recently.
The ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Lim Jung Taek, hosted Rear Admiral Giam Hock Koon and members of his multinational staff during their stay on board. The Commanders exchanged views on the counter-piracy situation and explored ways to improve cooperation between the counter-piracy forces.
Since 2009, South Korean warships have been independently deployed in the Gulf of Aden to conduct convoy escort operations. These operations aim to ensure the safe passage of all international merchant vessels, including a substantial number of Korean-flagged ships through the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). Whilst on their national tasking, ROKN ships readily lend support to CTF 151 counter-piracy efforts in the region. In addition to convoy escort, the ROKN commanded CTF 151 in 2012 and provided operational leadership to the counter-piracy efforts. In 2014, ROKN will assume command of CTF 151 for a third time.
The ROKS Munmu the Great has an embarked Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team. The VBSS team is one of its most important assets in the fight against piracy. The team allows for the safe and rapid boarding of suspected vessels and enables the team to respond to any piracy incident in the area of operations.
After the visit, Lieutenant Chaloemrat Yudee, Royal Thai Navy, a member of the Singapore-led battle staff said that he was “impressed with the warship and the commitment of the ROKN crew in the counter-piracy effort.” Last month, ROKN reaffirmed its continued commitment to Combined Maritime Forces counter-piracy operations. RAdm Giam also took the opportunity to express his appreciation to the ROKN for their strong commitment in supporting counter-piracy operations.
CTF 151’s multinational command team is embarked onboard Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Fort Victoria. The CMF established CTF 151 in January 2009 specifically to deter, disrupt and thwart piracy operations. It is a multinational task force that conducts counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Command of CTF 151 rotates every three to four months, with the current team due to hand over to a team from the Pakistan Navy in June.