Over the past several weeks, guided-missile frigate USS Taylor (FFG 50) and its visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) team, have actively patrolled the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) and provided security assistance to several merchant vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden region.
Taylor, with embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 Detachment 9, is assigned to Commander, NATO Task Force 508 Operation Ocean Shield.
This Operation is NATO’s counter-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and India Ocean.
“Ocean Shield is a clear demonstration of the alliance’s capability in the maritime field, and its flexibility in meeting the variety of challenges posed in today’s security environment,” said Cmdr. J. R. Hill, Taylor’s commanding officer. “As part of the NATO Task Force Taylor complements the European Union, Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), and independent nations’ units tackling piracy in the region.”
Taylor’s mission is to patrol the waters of the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and Somali Basin, and investigate suspicious maritime activity. Additionally, the ship supports merchant vessels requiring assistance while transiting the IRTC and other regional waterways. Taylor also monitors commercial merchant shipping and convoys and provides security overwatch.
“Most vessels we have encountered are legitimate fishing or trading and are not involved with piracy operations, but the data collected helps provide information for pattern of life analysis and evidence to compare between boardings that may help classify a dhow as a pirate vessel more clearly during a boarding,” said Lt. Michael Modeer, Taylor’s senior VBSS Officer.
Piracy and maritime crime are a significant concern to the international community, contributing nations, non-government and commercial organizations. Taylor has conducted numerous maritime security assist visit (MSAV) boardings in support of NATO’s counter-piracy efforts.
As the deployment continues, Taylor expects to remain vigilant on patrol, providing the maritime presence and security necessary to support counter-piracy efforts throughout the region.
Naval Today Staff , May 17, 2012; Image: navy