Rear Admiral Pakorn Wanich, the Commander of Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151) visited senior leadership in Djibouti on 9 December 2014, building on existing relationships to cement and reinforce the bonds between the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and the north African country.
During his visit to Djibouti, Rear Admiral Wanich met with leaders of the Djiboutian Navy and Djiboutian Coast Guard as well as international forces, such as the joint Djiboutian and Italian air component and logistics unit based, and the Japanese counter-piracy force. He also visited warships currently operating in support of CMF counter-piracy operations under his command.
The visit to Djibouti offered an opportunity to build on the already strong bonds between CMF and that country’s maritime forces. Rear Admiral Wanich called on the Djiboutian Chief of Navy, Colonel Abdourahman Aden Cher, who has also played the significant role in supporting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden. Colonel Cher thanked Rear Admiral Wanich for the work that CTF-151 does in the region, which, in his view, has had a direct positive impact on piracy in the Middle East.
Following his productive visit with Colonel Cher, Commander CTF-151 met with the Commander of the Djiboutian Coast Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Wais Omar. The Djiboutian Coastguard has played a significant role in maritime law enforcement operations in Djiboutian waters, and has enjoyed a close working relationship with CMF ships operating nearby. Rear Admiral Wanich was delighted to receive a detailed presentation covering the issues or challenges faced by the Coast Guard.
The Commander CTF-151 then took the opportunity to visit the Italian air group commander, Colonel Elio Volpari, before visiting the Italian Joint Logistic Support base. At the air base, Rear Admiral Wanich was given a tour of the Italian unmanned aerial vehicles which assist CMF operations by flying reconnaissance missions in the region. He then visited the Commanding Officer of the Japanese deployed support group, Captain Shohei lzuka, and the Commanding Officer of the Japanese air component, Commander Shinya Kusano. Just as the Italian air component support CMF operations, the Japanese maritime patrol aircraft regularly support CTF-151 counter-piracy operations.
Finally, Rear Admiral Wanich visited two Japanese warships who have contributed to CTF-151, JS Takanami and JS Harusame. The Japanese ships have played a very significant role in supporting CTF-151 counter-piracy operations. Rear Admiral Wanich passed a special thanks to Captain Tsutomu Okawa and the crew of JS Takanami crew for provided an excellent degree of support to CTF-151 before being relieved by JS Harusame on 10 December 2014.
Rear Admiral Wanich said:
“I thank the crew of JS Takanami for their efforts over the past months and wish them fair winds and following seas for their return back to Japan.”