MANAMA, Bahrain – More than 120 military and civilian representatives from 27 countries, 14 organisations (including maritime security and co-ordination agencies), shipping industry, and various governments met in Bahrain on Sept. 20, to coordinate counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.

This 21st Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) meeting was chaired by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and co-chaired by European Union Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

This meeting heard reports from the afloat task force commanders on the current operational situation, as well as reports from various working groups. Representatives agreed to further coordination through better communications procedures, synchronized operations, and capacity building endeavors throughout the region.

The SHADE meeting was established in Dec. 2008, in order to coordinate the efforts of the myriad of military forces conducting counter piracy in the region. Tactical and operational commanders meet with their counter-parts to provide awareness of current and planned operations, discuss threat analysis, and provide feedback to the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS).

The CGPCS is a voluntary, ad hoc international forum which brings together countries, organisations, and industry groups with an interest in combating piracy. Participating states seek to coordinate political, military, and other efforts to bring an end to piracy off the coast of Somalia and to ensure that pirates are brought to justice. The Group meets three times a year at the United Nations, while its five Working Groups meet regularly around the world to develop and implement international counter-piracy policies and programs.

Nearly 70 countries and several international organizations participate in the Contact Group, including the African Union, the Arab League, the European Union, the International Maritime Organization, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and various departments and agencies of the United Nations.

SHADE meets regularly in Bahrain, which is home of the Combined Maritime Forces. Through regular coordination meetings the militaries have gained valuable insight in countering the threat of piracy to global shipping.