This week, Commander of NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM), Vice Admiral Peter Hudson CBE, paid official visits to Operation OCEAN SHIELD’s counter-piracy task force 508 (CTF-508) off Muscat, Oman, and to Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) partners Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to enhance cooperation and strengthen relationships.
During the visit aboard CTF-508’s flagship, HDMS ESBERN SNARE, Vice Admiral Hudson met with Commander CTF-508 Commodore Aage Buur Jensen to discuss challenges facing the task force, as well as its successes in reducing the threat of maritime piracy and increasing maritime capacity in the region. Vice Admiral Hudson toured the ship and talked with crewmembers and with the personnel from the Special Maritime Insertion Unit (SMIU), one of the flagship’s specialised assets for the counter-piracy mission.
While in UAE, Vice Admiral Hudson met with Rear Admiral Ibrahim al Musharrakh, Commander of UAE Naval Forces, to improve collaboration with the ICI partner nation through better cooperative security engagements and more high-end warfare exercise opportunities.
Vice Admiral Hudson’s visit to Bahrain included discussions on maritime security with Commander, U.S. Naval Force Central Command/U.S. FIFTH FLEET/Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Vice Admiral John Miller and his Deputy CMF, Commodore Keith Blount, and a meeting with the Commander of the Bahraini Navy, Cdre Shaikh Khalifa Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.
Vice Admiral Hudson, said:
Strong ties with our ICI partner nations are vitally important to enhancing maritime security in the Gulf region.
This trip was a valuable opportunity to discuss maritime issues of shared importance, and I appreciate the time spent working together with each of these leaders.
The ICI was launched at the Summit meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government held on 28 June 2004 in Istanbul, Turkey. Four countries have since joined the initiative: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The ICI aims at enhancing security and regional stability through cooperative engagement in common security challenges, including the fight against terrorism and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The mandate for Operation OCEAN SHIELD has been extended through the end of 2016.
Press release, Image: NATO MARCOM