Three Counter Piracy task force commanders recently met to discuss how best to prevent pirates from resuming their illegal activity as the monsoon season comes to an end.
Commodore Peter Lenselink, Royal Netherlands Navy, Commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta, hosted Commodore Henning Amundsen, Royal Norwegian Navy, Commander of CTF 508, and Commodore Jeremy Blunden, Royal Navy, Commander of Combined Task Force 151, onboard his flagship HNLMS Johan de Witt, during patrols in the Gulf of Aden.
Taking this opportunity to meet at sea, the commanders examined new ways to cooperate and coordinate their activities to have maximum impact against would be pirates; and whilst there has been a decline in piracy in the waters off the Somali coast, they all agreed that the root causes of piracy are yet to be defeated.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to conduct a “two ship” replenishment between the CTF 151 flagship, Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort Victoria, the Dutch flagship of the European Union Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta, HNLMS Johan de Witt, and the Norwegian flagship of CTF 508, HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen.
Commodore Lenselink said, “It is important that the Force Commanders meet at sea. Good coordination of participating units of the three forces has a direct impact on the effectiveness to contain piracy in this very large operational area.”
Commodore Amundsen added, “This is a great opportunity for us to come together to discuss and share information in our joint efforts in countering piracy.”
Commodore Blunden summarised by saying, “Countering the pirate threat in Somalia is an international effort. We have had a good meeting here today between the multinational forces which will pave the way for even better coordination and continued pressure to deter any Somalis considering taking up piracy.”
Patrolling the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, CTF 151 operates as part of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF); a professional naval force comprised of 29 nations, who focus on Maritime Security Operations and work together to deny the use of the seas for terror and other illicit activity across approximately 2.5 million square miles of international waters, CTF 508 operates as part of the NATO led operation.
The European Union Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta is an EU led operation focussed mainly off the Somali coast, with a responsibility to protect vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering aid to displaced persons in Somalia and the protection of African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) shipping.