Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria, currently deployed to Operation Atalanta, recently participated in an exercise with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) ships JS Yuudachi and JS Yuugiri in the Gulf of Aden.
The three warships sailed together in close formation and their Seahawk helicopters took the opportunity to practise cross-deck landings. In order to maintain safety, close coordination was required at all times and liaison officers exchanged positions to ensure all parties knew the procedures.
JS Yuudachi, a Murasame-class destroyer, and JS Yuugiri, an Asagiri-class destroyer, are deployed with Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, an international force which aims to disrupt piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Aden. Like Op Atalanta, CTF151 works closely with regional partners to ensure seas are kept safe and Somali piracy is deterred.