On Tuesday 2 September the EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Guido Rando, welcomed the Commander of the Japanese Escort Task Group, Captain Tsutomu Okawa, on board the EU Naval Force flagship, ITS Andrea Doria. Both ships are conducting counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
The Japanese Escort Task Group is composed of the flagship, JS Takanami, which is deployed as part of Combined Maritime Forces CTF-151, and the Japanese Destroyer JS Onami, which escorts merchant vessels in national convoys through the Gulf of Aden.
During the visit both officers were able to discuss common issues and come to agreements on future cooperation.
“Visits like the one today with Captain Okawa are vital to ensure good cooperation and coordination with other nation’s forces. They also help to build a mutual understanding of our partners’ capabilities and processes,” stated Admiral Rando after the meeting.
As part of the meeting at sea members of the Japanese Commander’s staff were briefed on EU Naval Force whilst members of the Force Headquarters embarked in Andrea Doria were able to visit the Takanami via the Japanese Destroyer’s embarked helicopter to receive a brief conducted by the Japanese staff.
Combined Maritime Forces CTF-151’s mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation. In conjunction with NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield and the European Union Naval Force Somalia (EU NAVFOR), and together with independently deployed naval ships, CTF 151 work to combat piracy off the Coast of Somalia.