The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) warship, Japanese Ship Harusame, engaged with local fishermen during a recent port visit to Salalah, Oman.
JS Harusame, currently supporting the counter-piracy task force CTF-151, handed out leaflets to fishermen, written in both English and Arabic, and discussed how to avoid being mistaken for pirates.
The CTF-151 area of operations includes three of the world’s six maritime chokepoints, including the busy Bab El-Mandeb strait, which are transited by hundreds of merchant vessels every week. Although piracy-related incidents have been much reduced, merchant sailors are still wary of close contact with small boats which could pose a threat, and so the number of piracy-related false alarms remain high. As such, CTF-151’s mission includes engaging with local fishermen and other legitimate users of the seas to ensure they do not provoke a misunderstanding from the merchant vessels’ onboard security teams.
Captain Masatoshi Kashihara, commander of the 20th Deployment of the Surface Force for Piracy Enforcement, explained that influencing one fisherman can ultimately lead to many more hearing CMF’s message:
The fishermen promised us that they will provide copies of CTF-151’s leaflets to other vessels which are conducting fishing activities in the Gulf of Aden after they go back to their home waters. The interest in our activity was great this time, so we will conduct this kind of engagement at the next opportunity we have alongside during another port visit.
Rear Admiral Pakorn Wanich from the Royal Thai Navy and current Commander of CTF-151 said:
In line with our engagement plan, the crew of JS Harusame conducted great activity during her port visit, influencing local fishermen’s behaviour in order to decrease false alarms in the Gulf of Aden and particularly in the Bab El-Mandeb strait.