The Commander of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) counter-piracy task force, CTF-151, met his EU Naval Force counterpart during a visit to Muscat, Oman, on 20 January 2015.
Rear Admiral Pakorn Wanich from the Royal Thai Navy is the current Commander of CTF-151. As part of a planned visit to Muscat in Oman, he visited the EU Naval Force flagship, Italian warship ITS Andrea Doria, and met with the EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Guido Rando from the Italian Navy. Rear Admiral Wanich was accompanied by Mr Manasawee Tonyoopaiboon, the First Secretary of the Royal Thai Embassy in Oman, and Commander Komol Kongboonrak, a staff officer from CTF-151.
Joining Rear Admiral Rando onboard, the Commander CTF-151 was given a series of briefings about the work of the EU Naval Force in the region. The EU Naval Force Chief of Staff, Captain Luca Ceccobelli, gave a presentation on Operation Atalanta’s current operations, which is mainly focused on escorting World Food Programme ships along the Somali coastline to protect them from pirate attack, as well as helping governments in the region to enhance their maritime capabilities and secure the safety of their own territorial waters and international sealanes around the coast.
Rear Admiral Wanich then provided an update on CMF operations, detailing the lessons CTF-151 had learned throughout the period of Thailand’s command of the counter-piracy task force, as well as sharing best practice in how to assess suspicious events and incidents occurring in the area of operations.
The key theme through the two presentations was how to continue to develop the already strong links between CMF and EU Naval Force operations, as well as working closer with ships deployed independently by nations to conduct counter-piracy patrols in the region.
Rear Admiral Rando said:
“It was a great pleasure to meet the Commander of CTF-151. We are both proud of the success that our organisations have achieved in countering piracy, and we also recognise the importance of continuing our cooperation with independent deployers in the region.”
Following the briefings, Rear Admiral Rando accompanied his guests on a tour of the warship, hosted by her Commanding Officer, Captain Virdis.
Rear Admiral Wanich said:
“Today has been a great opportunity to meet with Rear Admiral Rando. As my EU Naval Force equivalent, we both have a significant role to play in countering piracy in the region. I would like to express my appreciation to Rear Admiral Rando for his warm welcome to this fine ship, ITS Andrea Doria, and for his continued friendship. The visit today will definitely be one event in a long list of many that strengthens the existing cooperation between CMF and the EU Naval Force.”