On the morning of 29 August 2018, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)’s JS Akebono and the Spanish Navy’s ESPS Castilla – flagships under the command of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 and the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) CTF465 respectively – conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) in the Gulf of Aden.

20180901-PASSEX Photo (JS Akebono and ESPS Castilla)JS Akebono (foreground) and ESPS Castilla conduct their PASSEX.

The PASSEX included a series of communications and maneuvering exercises, as well as helicopter training. These provided the participating warships the valuable opportunity to exercise their communication and coordination linkages, strengthened the mutual understanding of the ships’ capabilities, practices, and procedures, and significantly enhanced the interoperability of JS Akebono and ESPS Castilla in counter-piracy operations in the region.

20180901-Castilla Akebono PASSEXJS Akebono conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden.

Following the completion of the PASSEX, Commander CTF151, Rear-Admiral (RADM) Saw Shi Tat, and Commander CTF465, RADM Alfonso Pérez de Nanclares, reaffirmed the positive relationship between the two Task Forces’ Headquarters and the commitment to strengthen collaboration in counter-piracy operations. RADM Alfonso Pérez highlighted the significance of the PASSEX, saying: “As we have seen today, our relationship is stronger than ever and we will do our best to keep enhancing cooperation and coordination with CMF in order to provide a safe maritime environment in the region.”

His sentiments were echoed by Commander CTF151 RADM Saw who added: “The relations between CTF151 and CTF465 have grown from strength-to-strength. The PASSEX displays our high level of mutual understanding and interoperability, and puts us in a favourable position in the event where we need to respond to maritime incidents at sea.”

20180901-PASSEX Photo (JS Akebono farewell to ESPS Castilla)Sailors from JS Akebono wave farewell to ESPS Castilla

The successful conduct of the exercise is testament to the commitment of participating ships and the respective Task Forces’ Headquarters in contributing to global maritime security through counter-piracy efforts.