CCTF 151 Rear Admiral (RAdm) Cheong visited Captain Shinichi Kawabata, the Commander of the Japanese P3 Deployment Air-force for Counter Piracy Enforcement (DAPE), at the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) facility in Djibouti.
RAdm Cheong has carried out a Key Leadership Engagement visit to Djibouti. During the visit he went to DAPE, the air element of JMSDF’s counter-piracy effort in the Gulf of Aden (GOA) to discuss the importance of air surveillance in counter-piracy operations.
RAdm Ken Cheong acknowledged that the information provided by the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) over the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) located in the GOA is vital in building an extensive counter-piracy (CP) picture. A more complete CP picture allows Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), the independent deployers, and EU NAVFOR counter-piracy forces to identify real-time threats to merchant vessels.
RAdm Cheong said: “The Japanese friendship and contributions to CTF 151 are paramount to the success of our mission. I am grateful for the solid support rendered from a respectable navy like the JMSDF.”
The JMSDF have also carried out a visit to CTF 151 Headquarters. The visit reinforced the close partnership between CTF 151 and JMSDF. The JMSDF Commander-in-Chief of the Self Defense Fleet, Vice Admiral Yasuhiro Shigeoka, said during his visit.
“I am impressed by the professionalism of CTF 151, led by RAdm Ken Cheong. I am heartened to learn how our units have made important contributions to international efforts in this partnership to counter piracy. We are committed to continue taking part in this mission to contribute to stability in this area, and to continue building on the friendship and relationship with all the participating nations.”
The good working relationship between CTF 151 and the JMSDF is largely due to Japanese officer, Lieutenant Commander Yuichiro Kawanami, Head of CTF 151 Future Operations. He has been instrumental in ensuring common objectives are met and the HQ works efficiently with their Japanese ships to deliver effect.
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 151 was 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.