The Commander of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) met his counterparts from the Chinese and Indian Navies during a recent visit to Oman.
Commodore Tony Millar from the Royal New Zealand Navy, and current Commander of CTF-151, met with Rear Admiral Zhuang Chuanshu of the People’s Liberation Army (Navy), Commander of China’s CTF-989, and Commander Anand Kulkarni, Commanding Officer of the Indian ship INS Sumedha in Salalah, Oman, on 7 October.
A period of respite alongside in Salalah for the Chinese and Indian independent deployers provided an invaluable opportunity for Commodore Millar to meet with Rear Admiral Chuanshu and Commander Kulkarni to discuss, among other things, closer cooperation and coordination in order to better utilise and share information and resources in relation to counter-piracy operations.
Commodore Millar, who commands the New Zealand-led CTF-151 headquarters in Bahrain, said:
“My meeting with Rear Admiral Chuanshu and Commander Kulkarni is a visible demonstration that the international counter-piracy effort is truly international, with Chinese and Indian independent deployers working alongside my Combined Maritime Forces units, as well as ships from NATO and the European Union.”
The 30-nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), with NATO and the European Union Naval Force, works alongside other nations who send ships to conduct their own independent counter-piracy operations, known as independent deployers. CTG 989 is the Chinese task force, comprising an amphibious landing ship Changbaishan, a guided missile frigate Yuncheng and three shipborne helicopters. India has also committed the INS Sumedha to the region to escort merchant shipping and conduct counter-piracy operations.
Discussions with Rear Admiral Zhuang Chuanshu concentrated on the ongoing Chinese contribution, with a brief on current operations and escort duties from the Operations Officer of Changbaishan. Commodore Millar then met with Commander Kulkarni and thanked him for the support provided by INS Sumedha, which has allowed CTF-151 to make the most effective use of its forces to best counter piracy in the region.
Commodore Millar added:
“I am very grateful to Rear Admiral Chuanshu and Commander Kulkarni for the contribution that their ships make to the ongoing counter-piracy effort. It is by sharing best practice, cooperating in joint operations and communicating that we will bring this menace to an end. What continues to keep my focus is the fact that there are still 37 hostages held illegally by pirates. We must never forget that this mission is about safe guarding lives – not just property”
CTF-151 is a multinational task force which 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. CTF 151 operates in an area of international waters of more than 1.1 million square miles (2.5 million square kilometres), roughly the size of the Mediterranean and Red Sea combined.