At Sea, Somali Basin – On 28 Sept. 2010, commander, Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), Rear Adm. Sinan Ertugrul of the Turkish Navy, hosted the commander of the European Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), French Rear Adm. Phillipe Coindreau.

The ninety minute meeting between the two commanders took place onboard CTF-151 flagship TCG Gokceada, with Coindreau arriving by helicopter from his flagship, French frigate FS De Grasse (D612). The purpose of the meeting was to improve the working relationship between the two maritime forces, deepening understanding and increasing cooperation.

“The meeting was very fruitful,” stated Ertugrul after the meeting. “We have both benefited a great deal from this meeting. Both forces are in the region to deal with piracy, and such meetings give us the opportunity to share the burden of such a great task. Today’s meeting reinforces both Task Forces’ commitment to dealing with the global issue of piracy. We have worked on improving the sharing of information, and in doing so, we have a greater mutual understanding, which will only improve our cooperation and success.”

Commenting on the meeting Coindreau stated, “This was a unique opportunity for EU Task Force 465 to exchange information and maintain mutual understanding and knowledge with one of our key partners in the fight against piracy.”

Ertugrul went on to state, “The Somali Basin contains some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, where safe and free passage is vital to the international economy. Piracy is truly an international problem that requires an international response, which is precisely why this multinational coalition force is deployed here.”

CTF-151’s mission is to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy, protecting maritime vessels of any nationality and securing freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin. In conjunction with NATO and EUNAVFOR, CTF-151 conducts patrols in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) and supports the Best Management Practice (BMP) methods that are promoted to the shipping industry for the avoidance of piracy.

CTF-151 is one of three task forces operated by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), which is a unique naval coalition, dedicated to promoting security and prosperity across some 2.5 million square miles (6.5 square kilometres) of international waters in the Middle East. CMF’s main focus areas are defeating terrorism, preventing piracy, reducing illegal activities, and promoting a safe maritime environment.