Thursday, November 26, 2009

Three Combined Task Forces Meet in the Gulf of Aden

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew A. Hepburn, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

USS CHOSIN, At Sea (NNS) -- Three commanders of counterpiracy task forces met Nov. 21 to discuss future efforts and to welcome their newest member.

Rear Adm. Scott Sanders, commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, transferred from USS Chosin (CG 65), flagship of CTF 151, on an APECS II Lynx helicopter (Mk 95) from the Portuguese frigate Alveras Cabral, to meet with newest member Commodore Jose Pereira de Cunha, NATO commander, Combined Task Force 508 and Commodore Pieter Bindt, force commander of European Naval Force Somalia Combined Task Force 465.

The CTF leaders meet monthly to discuss and coordinate current and future operations off the coast of Somalia.

"There is an extraordinary level of communication and cooperation among all of the nations conducting counterpiracy operations in the Gulf," said Sanders.
"We communicate with each other while underway via electronic means, but to be able to meet and discuss matters in person helps to foster better relations between the task forces."

Since December 2008, more than nine countries have joined with CTF units in order to ensure safety, reduce wastage of assets, and create efficient and effective coverage of the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor.

"No ship has been successfully pirated in the IRTC that has followed the recommended maritime industry guidelines," said Sanders.

Merchant mariners that have listened to the recommendations and lessons have employed reasonable self-protection measures that discourage or prevent pirates from attempting to take their vessels. These measures have ranged from proactive lookouts, evasive maneuvering, razor wire on deck edges, using charged fire hoses to fend off attackers and employing armed security teams on board.

The presence of coalition Navy vessels in the region demonstrates the international commitment to regional security and stability. To continue to counter and deter piracy successfully, coalition efforts must be complimented by proactive measures by commercial shippers, regional governments, and the international community.

CTF 151 is part of Combined Maritime Forces, a coalition that conducts Maritime Security Operations throughout the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea to help provide security and stability in the region.