On Thursday 29 June, flag ships from Combined Task Force (CTF)150 and Operation Atalanta, both involved in Maritime Security Operations inside the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, met at sea for on-going interactions.
Early morning, French Ship Var, CTF150’s flag ship, encountered her counterpart from European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Operation Atalanta , Spanish Ship Galicia. This meeting gave the opportunity for both crews to visit each other exchanging views and experiences across the region. For several hours, Operation Atalanta Force Commander, Rear Admiral Alfonso Gomez Fernandez de Cordoba, was hosted on board FS Var by his counterpart, Captain René-Jean Crignola, offering the opportunity for both officers to discuss about their respective missions and to exchange their views regarding regional maritime security.
Commenting this visit, Capt. Crignola said : “If our fields of activity are clearly distinct, Operation Atalanta being focused on Anti-Piracy missions, when CTF-150 is about fighting against terrorism, we clearly share a lot in common, regarding our area of responsibility, the way we lead our missions at sea, the issues we can face, and also our main objective which is to ensure global maritime security. Our Task Forces are working side by side for a long time now and these interactions are always a good mean to deepen our cooperation and to exchange our views about our respective Maritime Security Awareness”.
As part of a goodwill gesture and in accordance with the tradition, the Commanding officers proceeded to exchange gifts.
During the meeting, supplies were transferred from each ship using the traditional Replenishment at sea and the Spanish Ship Galicia Sea King helicopter.
European operation Atalanta mandate is about protecting vessels of the World Food Program (WFP), African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other vulnerable shipping, deleting and disrupting piracy and armed robbery at sea and monitoring fishing activities of the coast of Somalia.
From its part, CTF-150 is one of three naval task forces operated by CMF, which is a multinational naval partnership of 30 nations. Task Force’s mandate is about promoting the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment by countering terrorist acts and related illegal activities, which terrorists use to fund their operations or conceal their movements. CTF 150‘s Area of Operation spans over two million square miles and includes some of the world’s most important and busiest shipping lanes, covering the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Western Indian Ocean.