Rear-Admiral (ESP N) Eugenio Diaz Del Rio, Commander Standing NATO Maritime Group TWO (SNMG2), handed over command of NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD task force (TF 508) to Commodore (Royal Danish Navy) Aage Buur Jensen, Commander SNMG1 during an operational handover in Souda Bay on Saturday, 14 June 2014.
The two Commanders and their staffs met and conducted the handover on board COMSNMG2 flagship, ESPS CRISTOBAL COLON. While berthed at Souda Bay Naval Station in Crete, the crews of the frigates HDMS ESBERN SNARE (COMSNMG1 flagship), HMCS REGINA, TCG GOKCEADA and USS TAYLOR and the oiler FS MARNE were witnesses of the event as well.
The operational handover included a meeting with an update briefing with the most up to date information on the piracy situation in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. After the briefing, the two Groups’ staff members met with their individual counterparts to complete the transfer of knowledge about the operation.
Commodore Jensen and Rear Admiral Diaz del Rio had met previously in Bahrain last January when Jensen was Commander Task Force 151.
“During my tour as commander of TF 508, there have been neither successful pirate attacks nor hijackings; this is the best performance indicator of the combined efforts of TF-508, EUNAVFOR TF-465, Combined Maritime Force TF-151, the independent deployers, regional partners, and the merchant shipping community,” said Rear Admiral Díaz del Río. “We can say that we had a successful deployment.”
SNMG1 has for the past few months been supporting NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR in the Mediterranean, thereby contributing to providing reassurance to countries in the region and the international commercial shipping in particular.
Addressing his predecessor in Operation OCEAN SHIELD, Commodore Jensen said, “It is a pleasure to have had such a comprehensive hand over with you and your staff. We are now up to speed on the situation and will have a smooth transition with no loss of effectiveness.”
This is the third time Commodore Jensen has deployed in counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean, and the Danish Commodore expressed his great respect for the work done by COM SNMG2 and his staff in Operation Ocean Shield.
Press Release, June 16, 2014; Image: NATO