Anti-piracy forces discuss shipping dangers in Middle East: New Zealand commander

Senior officers of the three main international counter-piracy task forces in waters around the Horn of Africa and Middle East have met to reinforce their resolve to keep shipping lanes safe and open, the New Zealand commander of one of the forces said.

Royal New Zealand Navy Commodore Tony Millar, current head of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force 151 (CTF- 151) met with Royal Danish Navy Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, representing NATO Task Force 508, and Italian Navy Rear Admiral Guido Rando, representing the European Union’s Naval (EUNAVFOR) Task Force 465 in Muscat, Oman, on Sept. 30.

“Piracy is an international problem that requires an international solution,” Millar, who has commanded CTF-151 since August, said in a statement.

“The meeting with my NATO and the EUNAVFOR counterparts in Muscat aptly demonstrates our joint resolve to succeed in ridding the region of these dangerous criminals and allow merchant traffic to use these waters without hindrance or threats of violence or kidnap.”

The meeting, which took place aboard the NATO flagship, Danish warship Esbern Snare, allowed the three commanders to discuss the latest developments in their organizations’ approach to counter- piracy operations and to look at closer cooperation.

CTF-151 is a multinational task force which conducts counter- piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. The aim is to deter, disrupt and prevent acts of piracy.

Also Thursday, the New Zealand Defence Force announced that an air force P-3K2 Orion and a Boeing 757 would leave for the Middle East next week to join counter-piracy operations.

The P-3K2 and 17 personnel would replace the current Orion aircraft that had been deployed since July, and the B757 would take 28 personnel for a three-month deployment.
Source: Xinhua