Earlier this month, a delegation from Yemen’s Coast Guard and Navy, headed by Colonel Abdul-Hafed Al-Wali, paid a visit to the Commander of NATO’s Counter-Piracy Task Force 508 (CTF-508), Rear Admiral (ESP N) Eugenio Diaz del Rio.
The meeting took place on board ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN which is currently conducting counter-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden. The delegation, composed of representatives from the Yemeni Coast Guard and Navy, was welcomed by Rear Admiral Diaz del Rio, Commander (ESP N) Jose E. Delgado, the ALVARO DE BAZAN’s Commanding Officer, and the CTF508 Chief of Staff, Captain (GRC N) Dimitrios Nikolaidis.
The objective of the meeting was to discuss issues of mutual interest and to enhance cooperation to fight piracy at sea. During the meeting, both parties agreed to conduct mutual activities, including the hosting of Yemeni Coast Guard and Navy personnel on board NATO counter-piracy units in the near future.
“This agreement is an important step forward in working together to improve the overall maritime security of the area,” said Rear Admiral Diaz del Rio.
There have been several examples of NATO-Yemeni cooperation in the past few months. On February 27, NATO warship HNLMS EVERTSEN rescued 8 Yemeni seamen who were found in the water in the Gulf of Aden and then handed them over to Yemen’s Coast Guard. Last week, ESPS ALVARO DE BAZAN assisted a drifting dhow before a Yemeni patrol could tow her back to the nearest Yemeni port.
Press Release, March 13, 2014; Image: NATO