NATO and EU force commanders meet off the Somali coast


The need for continued, high visibility anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa came under the spotlight this week when the EU Naval Force (Eunavfor) commander met with his opposite from NATO.

Commodore Peter Lenselink called on Commodore Henning Amundsen aboard the NATO flagship HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen. The meeting was made possible because the NATO flagship and its EU counterpart, HNLMS Johan de Witt were operating in neighbouring areas.

Both operations are working to counter the threat of piracy off the Horn and in the western Indian Ocean.

The meeting gave the Force Commanders the opportunity to discuss and strengthen continued co-operation between their forces, enhance information sharing between the two operations and ensure optimal deployment of counter-piracy assets.

Both Force Commanders agreed close co-ordination between the two counter-piracy missions remained critical to efforts to eradicate piracy off the coast of Somalia.

Combined task force 465 is the EU contribution working counter piracy operations as Operation Atalanta while the NATO combined task force 508 does the same under Operation Ocean Shield.

NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008. The mission has expanded from escorting UN and World Food Programme shipping under Operation Allied Provider and protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector. In addition to these activities and as part of the latest mission, Operation Ocean Shield, NATO is working with other international bodies to help develop capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own.