NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) welcomed U.S. Naval Force Central Command/U.S. FIFTH FLEET/Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Commander, Vice Admiral John Miller, and Commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia (EUNAVFOR)/Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces Major General Martin Smith, for a meeting with MARCOM Deputy Commander, Vice Admiral Bruno Paulmier, to discuss maritime security issues, including counter-piracy.
The three flag and general officers represent the operational command of counter-piracy task forces, respectively CTF-151 (headquartered in Bahrain), CTF-465 (headquartered in Northwood), and CTF-508 (NATO’s counter piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD task force). The task forces were formed by their respective organizations in response to rampant pirate attacks off the Somali coast.
Through the efforts of these three task forces, independent deployers, and adoption of best management practices by the merchant shipping community, successful attacks have been prevented for three full years, and a serious attack has not even been attempted since January 2014.
“The conditions that caused the piracy outbreak still exist, however,” said Vice Admiral Paulmier. “So MARCOM is focusing its efforts, in close coordination with CMF and EUNAVFOR, upon increasing Somali and neighbouring countries’ abilities to successfully patrol their own waters and deter piracy without outside assistance. There is still much work to be done before achieving that goal.”