A warship attached to Combined Maritime Forces’ (CMF’s) Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 has conducted a series of counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, working alongside personnel from both the Yemeni Navy and Marines.
The Royal Navy’s Type 23 Frigate HMS Kent, assigned to CTF 151, conducted a successful patrol of the islands of Socotra, off the Yemeni coast.
To help the Ship’s Company better understand the patterns of life that they witnessed in the region, HMS Kent embarked two Yemeni officers to act as local subject matter experts.
Colonel Ali Saleen of the Yemen Navy and Lieutenant Colonel Saalih Muhamed Alhumaymi of the Yemen Marines, both based in Socotra, shared their knowledge of the islands with Kent’s team and helped them build up a solid working knowledge of what to expect from the movements of legitimate fishing and sailing vessels in the region.
This information will be used in the future to identify suspicious activity that could be related to pirate activities.
During the three-day patrol, the Yemeni officers were shown the various equipment and techniques that CTF 151 units use to conduct maritime security operations. Col. Saleen said: “It’s good to see how other navies operate and work together to share information.”
On the second day, information was received regarding suspicious vessels operating to the south of the island; after closer inspection by Kent the vessels proved to be legitimate fishermen. A series of discussions with the fishermen allowed further ‘pattern of life’ information to be gleaned by Kent’s Ship’s Company.
“To make the most of HMS Kent’s capabilities on counter-piracy operations it is vital that we work closely with all regional partners with a vested interest in keeping the sea lanes free from danger and harassment,” said Kent’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ben Ripley.
“Sharing with the Yemeni Armed Forces how CMF and CTF 151 conduct their business is a fine example of how we are working with nations engaged in providing Maritime Security in the Middle East. The knowledge that the Yemeni officers passed on to my Ship’s Company will prove invaluable in understanding the dynamics of the region and increasing the likelihood of successfully disrupting piracy activity.
“The past three days have added real value in the early stages of our mission and I thank the Yemeni Armed Forces for their friendship and assistance.”
HMS Kent is currently working in support of CTF 151, whose remit involves disrupting piracy and armed robbery at sea as part of an international effort to provide maritime security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Northern Indian Ocean.