Commodore (Cdre) William Warrender RN, the Deputy Commander of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), welcomed Brigadier General Park Cheol-kyun of the Korean Ministry of National Defence to CMF Headquarters.
Brigadier General Park is the Deputy Director General of the International Policy Bureau and he visited CMF to discuss Korea’s contribution to CMF, and their future involvement in CMF tasking. Korea utilises its Cheonghae, a counter-piracy taskforce set up for operations involving the protection of merchant marine assets from piracy.
Cdre Warrender thanked the Republic of Korea for their contribution to, and support for CMF, he said: “The Republic of Korea (ROK) Cheonghae Unit is performing a critical role within CMF. We also hope to have continuous support from ROK ships in the future.”
The ROK government dispatched a Cheonghae Unit to the Gulf of Aden in March 2009 in support of UNSCR 1838. At the moment ROK Ship Wang Geon, a 4,500 ton destroyer with 1 Lynx helicopter and 3 RIBs is actively involved in the Gulf of Aden. It is the 21st Cheonghae Unit to work under CMF.
One of the biggest threats in the CMF operational area is Somali piracy and as a result Korea is a very active participant in the convoy system in the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor (IRTC). The presence of Korean warships is vital to continue the suppression of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Commander Thompson, the CMF Chief of Staff, added: “It is only the opportunity to commit piracy which has disappeared, not the pirate itself. The counter-piracy operation must be continued in order to deter its return.”
CMF was created post 9/11 to help counter the threat from international terrorism but the mission was later expanded to include counter piracy operations. CMF now comprises 31 nations from across the globe, with active support from the Gulf Co-operation Council and growing involvement from South East Asian nations. It operates over 3.2 million square miles of ocean.
CTF 151was established in 2009 and is focused on the disruption of piracy and armed robbery in the maritime environment. CTF 151 also engages with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities to secure freedom of navigation and protect global maritime commerce. The Task Force’s presence has helped to significantly reduce piracy in the region.