It is estimated that more than 145 representatives from navies, law enforcement agencies, the shipping industry and various governments met in Bahrain, to discuss counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin.
The 23rd Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) meeting was chaired by the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Capt Phil Haslam, Royal Navy, and hosted by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
The SHADE meeting, held every three months, focuses on improving cooperation and coordination of the maritime forces operating in the region while considering new initiatives and programs designed to disrupt, and ultimately, prevent, future pirate attacks.
The participants heard updates on the marked improvements of counter-piracy operations and success stories from the military and civilian maritime forces represented, as well as from the maritime industry.
Although there have been definite improvements in piracy deterrents since the last forum, Commodore Simon Ancona, Deputy Commander CMF, urged vigilance, stating in his opening remarks:
“If we remove the pressure then the problem will flare again. Gatherings such as these prove that there is always scope for better understanding and awareness which benefits every seafarer.”
Ancona also stated that to have a long term effect, the promoters and sponsors of piracy must also be targeted.
SHADE is also gathering momentum reflected by the increase in attendance. Malaysia was also present as the latest member of CMF.
SHADE participants meet regularly in Bahrain which is the base of the Combined Maritime Forces. The next SHADE will be held in June 2012.
The SHADE concept was established in Dec. 2008, to coordinate the efforts of the many military forces conducting counter-piracy operations including escorting convoys of merchant vessels in the region.