Commodore Steve Moorhouse OBE Royal Navy, Commander Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), has completed a visit to Kenya for meetings with the European Union (EU) and several agencies of the United Nations (UN) to discuss the continuing co-operation of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) with these important partners.
CTF 150, as part of the 32-nation CMF, is responsible for disrupting the illicit activities of terrorist organisations in the Western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. This includes preventing the illegal transportation of personnel, weapons, charcoal and narcotics. These operations starve such organisations of the financial means necessary to conduct their illegal activities.
Commodore Moorhouse began his visit at the offices of the EU in Nairobi. He met with representatives of EU Naval Forces Somalia (EUNAVFOR), the EU Capacity Building Mission to Somalia (EUCAP) and the EU Delegation to Kenya.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse OBE Royal Navy, Commander CTF150, addresses a UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) meeting on the illegal smuggling of Somali charcoal.
EUNAVFOR’s Operation Atalanta conducts counter-piracy operations in the vicinity of the Horn of Africa. CMF also conducts maritime security operations in this region and close co-operation between the 2 organizations has been a feature for many years. Commodore Moorhouse said “Whilst recognizing that the missions of CTF150 and EUNAVFOR are different, close coordination and information sharing has been key to both parties in making best use of our assets in this region. CMF remains grateful for EUNAVFOR’s continuing assistance in this area”.
EUCAP conducts civilian maritime capacity building in Somalia and Commodore Moorhouse was interested in understanding how CMF can complement this work. He said “A key goal of CMF is to improve the capability and capacity of regional states to undertake effective maritime security activity. Understanding the work of other organizations in this area, such as EUCAP, is important so as to ensure that we maximize the effectiveness of the support we can offer”.
Commodore Moorhouse then travelled to the UN’s Office at Nairobi (UNON). UNON is one of the UN’s 4 main global complexes and houses a number of UN agencies. Commodore Moorhouse met with representatives from the Regional Office of UN Women, Maggie Muthama and Julius Otim. There was an informative discussion about the role of women in peace and conflict and Commodore Moorhouse was keen to understand how better linkages between the work of CMF and UN Women could be forged.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse OBE Royal Navy, Commander CTF150, presents a gift to Maggie Muthama and Julius Otim, during a visit to the UN Women Office in Nairobi.
The visit also included a number of the sessions of the 21st Plenary Session of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). In particular, the Commodore spoke at a supporting meeting concerning the smuggling of Somali charcoal. Somali charcoal is a major source of revenue for the terrorist organisation Al Shabaab and, as a result, the export of charcoal from Somalia is banned under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 2385/2017. The meeting, organized by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), brought together stakeholders, including regional countries and multinational organisations, to discuss how the ban could be more effectively enforced. Commodore Moorhouse said “CMF is prepared to assist in the enforcement of the UNSCR, but, to be truly successful, a multi-agency approach is required, including the support of the countries to which these shipments of charcoal are bound”.
Commodore Moorhouse also held discussions with UNODC around support to capacity building exercises and strengthening the ability to successfully prosecute those involved in the smuggling of illegal narcotics. This latter issue, known as achieving ‘legal finish’, is an important part of disrupting the flow of illegal drugs across the Indian Ocean, with UNODC evidence suggesting that it has a significant deterrent effect on would-be smugglers.
Reflecting on his couple of days at the UN, Commodore Moorhouse stated “It is clear that maritime security remains a major issue of concern across the region and that close working relationships, coordination and information sharing between national governments, the shipping industry and multi-national organizations like CMF is key. CMF will continue to support our partners to ensure that the high seas remain the preserve of legitimate seafarers”.