The Commander of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) visited Japanese and Turkish ships providing direct support to CTF-151 in Oman recently.
Commodore Tony Millar from the Royal New Zealand Navy is the current Commander of CTF-151. During a visit to Salalah, Oman, on 7 October, Commodore Millar met with two Ships which directly support CTF 151 counter piracy operations: Japanese Ship Takanami and Turkish Ship Gemlik.
A period of respite alongside in Salalah for the Turkish and Japanese ships provided an invaluable opportunity for Commodore Millar to meet with Captain Tsutomu Okawa of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force and Commander of Escort Division Six onboard JS Takanami and Commander Huseyin Tigli, Commanding Officer of TCG Gemlik, to discuss, among other things, their command impressions of the mission so far and lessons learnt to increase communication and coordination.
Commodore Millar began his visit to Salalah onboard TCG Gemlik with a wide ranging discussion about the shared history between New Zealand and Turkey and coordination of future activities. Following the meeting with Commander Tigli, Commodore Millar was given a tour of ship, which included a lively debate with bridge officers about the importance of traditional navigation techniques, before addressing the crew of Gemlik, thanking them for their hard work in this challenging environment.
After a traditional Turkish lunch onboard Gemlik, Commodore Millar crossed to JS Takanami to meet with Captain Okawa to discuss the ongoing Japanese contribution to counter-piracy operations, including their plans to help the local maritime capacity building effort.
Commodore Millar used the opportunity to thank Commander Hiroshi Ueda, the Commanding Officer of JS Takanami, for his timely and professional assistance of a drifting dhow the previous week. The meeting concluded with a tour of Takanami, highlighting the upgrades made in order to successfully conduct counter piracy operations.
Commodore Millar said:
“My meetings with Captain Okawa and Commander Tigli provided wonderful opportunities to thank some of the people providing valuable support to CTF-151 counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. These hard working sailors ensure that the seas remain safe from criminals and allow international trade to prosper.”
“I am very grateful to Captain Okawa and Commander Tigli for hosting me in Salalah. It was impressive to see the capabilities of both ships and to be reminded of the hard work being undertaken by their Ship’s companies. I was particularly impressed with the focus on protecting those who use the seas for legitimate reasons and the concerns that all personnel had for the safety of those 37 hostages still being held captive by these seagoing criminals. We must never forget that in the final analysis, this mission is about safeguarding lives.”
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.