This past weekend, NATO’s counter-piracy flagship, ESPS CRISTOBAL COLON, engaged with the Royal Omani Navy and the European Union Naval Force’s (EUNAVFOR) counter-piracy task force commander (CTF-465) following a port visit to Salalah, Oman.
COLON departed Salalah on Saturday 12 April 2014 and conducted a series of exercises with the Royal Omani Navy corvette AL SHAMIKH. The training consisted in maneuvering and communication exercises between the two ships. These activities ended with a boarding exercise during which AL SHAMIKH acted as a merchant vessel. ESPS CRISTOBAL COLON hailed AL SHAMIKH, following established procedures, before conducting a boarding operation to verify the ship’s documentation and cargo.
Sunday 13 April 2014, EUNAVFOR counter-piracy Operation ATALANTA task force commander, Rear Admiral (DEU N) Jürgen Zur Mühlen, paid a visit on board ESPS CRISTOBAL COLON and was welcomed by his NATO counterpart, Rear Admiral Diaz del Rio.
“These two activities with the Royal Omani Navy and with EUNAVFOR’s Operation ATALANTA demonstrate the different levels of cooperation that are necessary to effectively combat piracy,” said RAdm Diaz del Rio. “We need to maintain a constant dialogue with both regional players and other naval task forces to ensure that our approach is truly comprehensive.”
Press Release, April 17, 2014; Image: NATO