The Commander of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151’s newly joined Japanese Ship (JS) Samidare and the Commander of NATO’s counter piracy task force met at sea to strengthen cooperation between the two forces which both seek to combat the piracy threat in the Gulf of Aden.

The chance to have face to face discussions was a welcome and useful contrast to the norm in today’s world of effective but rather impersonal high-tech radio communications.

JS Samidare pictured in the Indian Ocean en route to Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden 

After the meeting with Rear Admiral Eugene Diaz del Rio, Spanish Navy, Commander of the NATO task force, Captain Hiroaki Tajiri, Japanese Navy, Commanding Officer of JS Samidare, said:

“While operating within the same area and communicating extensively through bridge to bridge means, the opportunity to have a staff meeting at sea is still of high value.”

He added: “There is no doubt that the true strength of the combined counter piracy effort lies in the continuous close cooperation and information sharing between the EU, NATO and CMF task forces, as well as various independent deployers.”

Capt. Hiroaki Tajiri, Japanese Navy, Commander JS Samidare, and Rear Admiral Eugene Diaz del Rio, Spanish Navy, Commander of the NATO task force, exchange gifts 

The Japanese Maritime Defence Force (JMSDF) recently became a member of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). JS Samidare joined CTF 151 in early December, making her the first Japanese ship to participate in CMF’s counter piracy mission.

JS Samidare, meaning “early summer rain”, was commissioned in 2000 and is the sixth of nine Murasame class destroyers. She is currently the flagship of Japan’s Commander Escort Division Four.

Japan has been a long-time independent contributor to the global counter piracy effort and has regularly used her naval vessels to escort merchant ships through piracy hot spots in Asia and the Middle East.

Members of the command staffs from the Japanese Escort Division and the NATO task force meet at sea