Representatives from around the world came together in Bahrain to discuss the ongoing fight to counter the piracy threat to shipping posed by criminal gangs from Somalia.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) chaired the 37th Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) meeting, which is hosted on a rotational basis by the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR), NATO and the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF). It included 80 representatives from 30 nations around the world. Captain Tufan Uslu, Assistant Chief of Staff Operations at Allied Maritime Command in Northwood, chaired the SHADE conference.
SHADE provides an international forum for frank and open discussions about ongoing counter-piracy operations in the Southern Red Sea, Bab El-Mandeb strait, the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Basin and the sea lanes around the Horn of Africa. The two day conference comprised a series of meetings between representatives from many organizations, both civilian and military, and offered an opportunity for the delegates to listen to keynote speakers who provided a broader understanding of the wider issues surrounding piracy in the region.
The conference included a comprehensive analysis of the piracy threat that shows that piracy-related incidents have reduced substantially since CMF, EUNAVFOR, NATO and other nations including China and Russia began counter-piracy operations in the region in 2008. Captain Uslu took the opportunity to recognise the contribution made by nations deploying units to the region independently, emphasizing the overarching theme of the 37th SHADE.
“The theme for this conference is one team one mission. This theme captures how we must all come together to ensure piracy does not rise again to delay global commerce. This requires support from all stakeholders.” said Captain Uslu.
SHADE underlines the importance of cooperation between military forces in the region and industry. Representatives of the maritime industry thanked the organizations involved in the counter-piracy effort and emphasized that it is important for industry to understand the evolving threat, to continue to support global Best Management Practices (BMP) and maintain trusted international reporting centres for shipping to ensure that piracy does not return.
“The 37th convening of the SHADE showed once again the commitment from all of the counter-piracy actors that they remain engaged in countering the evolving piracy and maritime security threats that continue to exist in the region. Superb attendance, engaging guest speakers and in-depth discussions at this latest SHADE made it clear that there remains keen interest in the future of SHADE and a desire to move the mandate forward.” said Captain William Nault US Navy, Chief of Staff at CMF headquarters in Bahrain.
The SHADE conference allows nations and organisations who would not normally coordinate their naval operations to meet on a regular basis and plan how best to combat piracy.
“SHADE demonstrates the importance of the international community coming together on a regular basis to discuss the on-going piracy threat and to reinforce the need for vigilance to deter pirates from deploying to sea to attack merchant shipping and other vulnerable vessels.” said Colonel Steve Hussey MBE, from the United Kingdom’s Royal Marines and Chief of Staff for EUNAVFOR.