COMBINED Maritime Forces (CMF) has led a series of Passing Exercises with warships from the UK, Pakistan and Japan, while conducting counter piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

A Type 23 frigate, HMS ARGYLL, conducted the exercises with Pakistan ship PNS Saif, and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force’s JS Ohnami.

Organized and led by CMF’s Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151), an anti-piracy task force commanded by the Turkish Navy, the exercises demonstrate the collaboration and interoperability between members of CMF, a 33 member coalition based in Bahrain.

Known as PASSEXs, these ships conducted a number of communication exercises to improve the procedures for rapid exchange of information at sea. Upon completion, simple to advance tactical maneuvering exercises were conducted. Live weapon firing drills were also conducted during the PASSEX with JMSDF ship Ohnami.

HMS Argyll and JMSDF Ohnami conducting maneuver exercises.

Following the PASSEX with PNS Saif, HMS Argyll’s Commanding Officer, Commander Andrew Ainsley said: “Exercises such as this build on our deep and historic relationship with Pakistan and its Navy, as well as enhancing our ability to work together in providing assurance to the marine community in this important maritime region”.

HMS Argyll conducts a Passing Exercise with the Pakistan Navy Ship Saif

Cdr Ishidera, Commanding Officer of the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Ship Ohnami said: “JS Ohnami and HMS Argyll have both been deployed with the counter-piracy mission of deterring and disrupting piracy to ensure freedom of navigation at sea. We believe this exercise contributed towards deepening the relationship between Japan and the United Kingdom, both CMF member nations.”

The region is home to some of the most strategic chokepoints in the world, making it imperative that the freedom of navigation is maintained for merchant shipping transiting the high seas. Working together with CMF’s member Navies and Coast Guards, as well as international and regional partners such as UNODC and EUNAVFOR, is crucial to fulfill CTF 151’s mission to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy and armed robbery at sea.