Following the visit in early November by the Commander of the 6th Japanese Escort Division, Captain Tsutomu Okawa, to EU Naval Force warship, FGS Lübeck, the German frigate’s commanding officer, Commander Peter Christian Semrau was invited to make a return visit to Japanese destroyer, JS Onami, on 16 December 2014.
After rendezvousing at sea 200 nautical miles north of The Seychelles, Captain Okawa invited Commander Semrau and members of his German Navy crew on board.
During the day the warships, together with Japanese destroyer JS Takanami, conducted a series of naval exercises at sea, including a gunnery serial, with the crews firing at a large inflatable orange target that is known in navy jargon as a killer tomato!
The German delegation was given a guided tour of the Japanese warship, with Commander Semrau and his team being briefed on the ship’s systems and functions. Following a traditional Japanese lunch, Commander Semrau thanked Captain Tsutomu Okawa for his hospitality before returning to FGS Lubeck.
Following a communications exercise, that included signaling with lights and flags, the highlight of the day was a so called ‘fleet ballet’, where the three warships manoeuvered in close formation to each other.
On completion of the naval manoeuvers FGS Lubeck sailed past the Japanese destroyers for a final farewell as the Japanese warships would soon be sailing home to Japan.
Meetings such as this help to strengthen cooperation and mutual understanding between the different nations and naval forces that are conducting counter-piracy operations in the Horn of Africa.