New additions to Ocean Shield fleet

3658

Operation Ocean Shield, NATO’s counter-piracy contribution off the horn of Africa, has been boosted by the arrival of two new ships.

HDMS Esbern Snare from the Royal Danish Navy and UPS Hetman Sagaidachny from the Ukrainian Navy have joined the NATO fleet and have already been visited by Commodore Henning Amundsen, Commodore of NATO Counter Piracy Task Force 508.
“The situation in Somalia has not been solved yet. This is why we need to stay resilient, keep our guard up and continue to co-operate, ensuring safety for our seafarers. We expect higher activity off the coast of Somalia in the upcoming months, both from local fishermen and illegal criminal activity. It will be easier for pirates to hide as they can use the higher density of traffic as cover,” he said aboard the Ukrainian vessel.

Amundsen has high, but realistic expectations from the experienced ships. Addressing the commander and crew on HDMS Esbern Snare the Commodore said: “With your previous counter piracy operations, I expect you to contribute with your experience and knowledge. I am confident in your efforts and skills to contribute in solving our upcoming tasks and challenges.”

Task Force staff and UPS Hetman Sagaidachny personnel met on board the Ukrainian ship. Rear Admiral Tarasov and the ship’s master are well prepared for the operation and Amundsen welcomed them to the Task Force.
“As force commander, it is an honour for me to welcome you to Operation Ocean Shield. You have already shown flexibility in solving tasks and issues, a flexibility needed to address unpredictable situations and challenges. My staff and I look forward to co-operating in our common goal to counter piracy,” Amundsen said.

The joint efforts of naval forces and the shipping industry have reduced the ability of pirates to operate off the Somali coast but the end of the monsoon season has seen at least three reported incidents of shots being fired at ships, one of them a VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier).

According to the International Maritime Bureau, as of August 31, Somali pirates have been responsible for ten piracy incidents and two hijackings this year. They are currently holding 57 hostages.