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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Somali Pirates: SHADE meets, coordinates

Cooperation among the 25+ military ships busy containing Somali piracy at a meeting of SHADE on 29 Sept 09:

SHADE was established in December 2008 as a means of sharing ‘best practice’, conduct informal discussions and deconflict the activities of those nations and organisations involved in military counter-piracy operations in the region. Initially, SHADE participation involved the Combined Maritime Forces based in Bahrain, the European Naval Force EU NAVFOR and NATO but it grew quickly to include many regional nations and other navies operating under independent mandates, such as China, India, Japan and Russia.

SHADE is a voluntary international military group that meets on a monthly basis in Bahrain. In all, 26 nations were present, along with 3 Coalitions and representatives from industry. This meeting welcomed Ukraine as the newest participant.

A number of good examples of practical coordination at sea were highlighted in the meeting.

  • On 24 July the EU NAVFOR Italian warship Maestrale with the NATO Turkish warship Gediz and the Indian warship Godavari worked closely together to deter a possible pirate attack.
  • On 22 August, when in a combined action including EU NAVFOR ships, fast rhibs, a helicopter and a Japanese maritime patrol aircraft, a suspected pirate skiff was stopped and disarmed.
  • On 26 August EU NAVFOR ship Fridtjof Nansen and a helicopter, in cooperation with a South Korean navy helicopter from CTF 151 responded to an emergency call.
  • On Wednesday 26th of August the commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia, Commodore Pieter Bindt RNLN (CTF 465) met with Rear Admiral Scott Sanders USN, Commander of the Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) on board the CTF 151 flagship USS Anzio (CG68).

The meeting achieved broad consensus on a set of terms of reference, agreed to explore opportunities to coordinate logistics and resources, commissioned further work on improving communications with merchant shipping and campaign effectiveness.

SHADE achievements over the last 9 months include:

  • Establishment of an Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden, which was endorsed by IMO in July 2009
  • Development of the IRTC Coordination Guide
  • Agreement on the utility of a common geographical reference system
  • Support for the innovative military communications system MERCURY, which allows all SHADE participants to coordinate together in real time
  • Emergence of coordinated focused operations off the coast of Somalia
  • Improving coordination with industry
  • Command opportunities and assets being shared across SHADE participants – e.g. Singaporean and Turkish commanders operating from US warships

European Naval Force - Operation Atalanta

EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta acts in accordance with United Nations Security Councils resolutions. The military operation was launched 8 December and has been extended by the European Council until December 2010. The EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta will pursue the following objectives:

  • The protection of World Food Programme (WFP) vessels delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia.
  • The protection of vulnerable vessels sailing in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast.
  • Employ the necessary measures, including the use of force, to deter, prevent and intervene in order to bring to an end acts of piracy and armed robbery which may be committed in the areas where they are present.
The EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta consists of units from Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. Contributions from third countries such as Norway are participating as well. Also, a number of Cypriot, Irish, Maltese and Finnish military personnel supplement the team at the Northwood Operation Headquarters
SHADE? Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE).

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