The international effort to defeat piracy in the Indian Ocean and off Horn of Africa was bolstered this week as the flagships of the European Union Naval Force (EU Naval Force) and the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-piracy task force, Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), met at sea to share best practice on how to combat those who use the sea for illegal activities.
Italian ship ITS Andrea Doria, home of the Commander of the EU Naval Force and his staff, hosted a visit by the Commanding Officer and six other members of the Ship’s Company of Republic of South Korean Ship Munmu the Great on 18 September. The visit included a discussion forum with key members from both ships’ companies, enabling the sharing of information about how each task force conducts counter-piracy operations, as well as a tour of the ITS Andrea Doria for the South Korean officers.
Rear Admiral Guido Rando of the Italian Navy has commanded the EU Naval Force since August 2014. A seasoned officer with over 30 years’ experience in multinational naval operations, Rear Admiral Rando understands the necessity of pooling resources to deter and defeat an opponent. He said: “Mutual cooperation is a key factor in the fight against piracy in the Horn of Africa region.”
Captain Kim Jeong-Hyun, the Commanding Officer of the destroyer ROKS Munmu the Great, said: “The visit to the ITS Andrea Doria was conducted in a positive atmosphere of friendship and cooperation. It was very clear from our discussions that we are agreed on the purpose of our respective deployments: EU Naval Force and CMF ships are a force for good in the region. A continuous presence in the area prevents pirates from interfering with the delivery of humanitarian aid, the safe passage of legitimate coastal trade with Somalia and the local fishing activity.”
He added: “I am very grateful to Rear Admiral Rando and his staff for taking the time to host me and my fellow officers during our recent visit.”
CTF-151 is a multinational task force that conducts counter-piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The aim is to deter, disrupt and prevent acts of piracy. The area in which CTF 151 operates encompasses an area of international waters off the coast of Somalia and Kenya as well as the Gulf of Aden equalling more than 1.1 million square miles (2.5 million square kilometres), roughly the size of the Mediterranean and Red Seas combined.
Commodore Tony Millar, MNZM, of the Royal New Zealand Navy is the Commander of CTF-151. He said: “Piracy is a threat to the security and prosperity of all nations and requires an international solution. The team at CTF-151, of which our colleagues from ROKS Munmu the Great are key players, are committed to continuing operations that deter piracy and other destabilising activities in the maritime arena in order to create a lawful maritime order.”
Commodore Millar added: “I am incredibly proud of the sailors of CTF-151, all of whom possess the professional expertise and experience to fight their ships effectively in order to protect legitimate maritime activities, including those of the people of Somalia, and to secure the freedom of navigation from the threat of piracy. This recent visit is just another example of professionals coming together for the wider benefit of the region and I thank our EU Naval Force colleagues for hosting CTF-151 personnel onboard the ITS Andrea Doria.”