Counter Piracy Task Force Commanders from NATO and the Combined Maritime Forces recently met, onboard the Norwegian Frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen, to discuss how best to combat the threat of piracy from around the Somalian coast.
Commodore Jeremy Blunden Royal Navy, Commander of Combined Task Force 151, and Commodore Henning Amundsen Norwegian Navy, Commander NATO Task Force 508, share a common goal of deterring and disrupting piracy in and around some of the world’s most dangerous shipping regions.
During the meeting the two Commanders reviewed the current piracy situation and discussed ways in which the two Task Forces can continue to support and coordinate with each other.
Commodore Blunden said, “It is important that the Task Forces meet regularly to ensure we continue to work together effectively to share information, coordinate our movements and tactics and to keep the pressure on those thinking of resuming piracy. While reported acts of piracy have diminished significantly in recent months, it is certainly not yet defeated and we must remain on our guard.”
Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin reached its peak between 2010 and 2011 when 72 vessels and over 1400 hostages were taken. Pirate attacks declined significantly in 2012 thanks to the international military efforts and measures adopted by the merchant community.
Commodore Amundsen said ”Our joint efforts provide a significant contribution to the safety of merchant ships passing through the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. We share a mutual understanding of the current situation in the Joint Operational Area and are strongly committed to our common goal – to counter piracy. To achieve this, it is of the utmost importance to enhance the cooperation between the forces present in the area.”
Lieutenant Commander Stephane Guillon French Navy from Brest, France who works for the Royal Navy’s Maritime Battle Staff in Portsmouth and is currently seconded to the international staff on CTF 151 said, ”NATO and CMF share the same objectives and together we can coordinate assets to protect the merchant community and deter pirates from their illegal activity.”
Stephane’s wife and two of his younger children are living in Portsmouth during his time with the Royal Navy, whilst his older children are in higher education in France.
CTF 151 is responsible for deterring and disrupting piracy and helping to build regional capacity in a huge area covering 2.5 million square miles. The Task Force is part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a professional, multinational naval partnership comprising 29 nations, who focus on maritime security operations and work together to deny the use of the seas for piracy or other illegal activity.
CTF 508 conducts counter-piracy in a similar area and is part of NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield, which was established in August 2009. HNoMS FRIDTJOF NANSEN is the current flagship for the Task Force.