Republic of Korea Ship (ROKS) Munmu the Great met with the Royal Navy ship HMS Defender in Salalah, Oman while both ships were supporting Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151).
HMS Defender had called into Salalah to refuel before continuing with her mission as part of CTF-151. This counter-piracy role sees her working alongside other warships to protect merchant ships from piracy in a vulnerable stretch of water between Somalia and Yemen known as the internationally recommended transit corridor. This involves the UK working alongside ships from a variety of countries that support the 30-nation Combined Maritime Forces based in Bahrain.
In accordance with Royal Naval tradition, Commander Phil Nash, the Commanding Officer (CO) of HMS Defender, invited the CO of the ROKS Munmu the Great, Captain Kim Jeong-Hyun, aboard his ship to demonstrate the wide range of capabilities of the Type 45 destroyer.
Commander Nash said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome Captain Kim Jeong-Hyun on board and provide an insight into how my ship’s company operate and work with coalition units.
Logistician Steward Stephen ‘Del’ Trotter noted what a privilege it was to have South Korean navy colleagues aboard. He said: “It was a rare treat to have our coalition partners from South Korea aboard. Speaking to them and understanding how they work differently to us was interesting and very informative.”
Prior to visiting Salalah, HMS Defender transited through the strategically important Suez Canal and took the opportunity to undertake additional training in preparation for patrols in the Gulf. The ship’s boarding teams conducted fast roping exercises, gunnery teams fired the ship’s small calibre weapons and the embarked flight team conducted winching drills.
Commander Nash highlighted the value of the meeting and noted: “Our combined tasking provides a highly visible deterrence to pirate activity and narcotics movements, keeping the sea-lanes safe. Although this was a brief visit, I hope, in the near future, we can work alongside one another and continue to develop a longstanding working relationship.”
CTF-151’s mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation.