Last week the EU Naval Force flagship, ITS Andrea Doria, and the Chinese Flagship CNS Changbaishan met at sea in the Gulf of Aden.
The Commander of Chinese Naval Escort Task Group 989, Rear Admiral Zhuang Chuanshu, and the Commanding Officer of CNS Changbaishan, Captain Deng Xianwu, took the opportunity to visit the EU flagship for a courtesy visit on EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Guido Rando. This was the second time the force commanders were able to meet at sea after Rando assumed the Force Command of EU Naval Force three months ago.
They discussed matters of mutual interest, such as the ongoing piracy threat and the importance of co-ordinating naval activities in the piracy high risk areas, particularly during the inter-monsoon period, when the threat from piracy is increased due to improved weather conditions off the Somali coast, which make it easier for pirates to get out to sea.
The Chinese Navy has warships conducting counter-piracy operations within the Horn of Africa to ensure freedom of navigation and safety of maritime trade in the area. They provide warship escorts to merchant ships to protect them from pirate attacks. Chinese Navy ships have in the past also contributed to the protection of World Food Programme (WFP) ships during their transit in the Gulf of Aden.
Both sides agreed that current counter piracy efforts have to continue. Rando said: “The visit of Admiral Zhuang Chuanshu confirms the common views of our navies of the need to continue the conduct of counter-piracy operations, and how important it is to work together as international forces sharing information and reassuring the maritime community with our enduring commitment in the area. The principle of freedom of navigation is of utmost interest for us all and deserves our joint effort.”