VICTORIA, Seychelles – Turkish warship TCG Gokceada, flagship to the Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) conducting counter-piracy operations in the Somali Basin, recently arrived in Victoria, Seychelles for a brief port visit.

While in port, Rear Admiral Sinan Ertugrul, Commander, CTF-151, took the opportunity to strengthen links with the archipelago nation.

At a meeting between Ertugrul and Chief of Defence Staff of the Seychelles, Brigadier Leopold Payet, both men agreed to strengthen ties and mutual cooperation in dealing with piracy.

The Somali Basin is a hotspot for piracy, which affects global trade, as well as regional maritime industries. Ertugrul reaffirmed his commitment to the Seychelles during the hour-long meeting stating, “It is my intention to robustly disrupt and deter piracy within the Somali Basin. Such acts not only affect large merchant shipping industries, but also important local and regional maritime activities, such as fishing. I am committed to working ever-closer with the Seychelles wherever possible to make sure that those who need the sea for legitimate and legal use, can do so without hindrance or the threat of piracy.”

Ertugrul added that 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 force is deployed here.”, said Ertugrul.

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 EU Naval Force Somalia (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.