On 18 July the Force Commanders of the three international Counter-Piracy task forces, the EU Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta (EU NAVFOR), NATO Operation Ocean Shield (TF-508) and Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151; operated by the Combined Maritime Forces – CMF) met on board the NATO flagship to exchange experience and coordinate the fight against piracy.
The flagships, FS Marne (EU NAVFOR), HNLMS Evertsen (NATO) and the ROKS Wang Geon (CTF-151) rendezvoused in the Gulf of Aden to allow the three Force Commanders to hold a joint information exchange face to face.
French EU NAVFOR Force Commander Rear Admiral Jean-Baptiste Dupuis and CTF-151 Commander Rear Admiral Anho Chung from the Republic of Korea were welcomed by Dutch NATO Commander Commodore Ben Bekkering aboard the Evertsen.
The three Counter-Piracy forces communicate and coordinate their operations on a daily basis to ensure maximum effectiveness in the deterrence, disruption and repression of piracy in the area of operation. But even in times of modern communication systems, personal contacts are important. Therefore, cross-deck meetings are organised regularly in addition to electronic forms of communication. However, this was the first simultaneous meeting at sea of the Force Commanders of the three main Counter-Piracy forces.
The three commanders discussed the strategic and tactical situation and the broader evolution of piracy since the end of 2011. The Commanders agreed that the increased pressure on Somali pirates and their business model has seen promising results but needs to be maintained. The situation in Somalia allowing for pirates to operate has not yet changed and the recent spate of successes is still reversible – there is no room for complacency.