After being welcomed by the Task Force Commander, Commodore Ben Bekkering, the Russian delegation was briefed about NATO’s counter-piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield. Captain Kondratov, in turn, provided an overview of the Russian counter-piracy efforts and current convoy procedures. Considerable time was spent sharing views and information about the current situation around the Horn of Africa, including the most recent hijacking attempts and the use of private security teams. Both commanders agreed that there was scope to expand the exchange of information and that they would seek ways to achieve that. In addition, they agreed to investigate possibilities for counter-piracy related exercises.
|Commodore Bekkering flanked by visiting Russian officers. Photo: NATO|
The visit was concluded with a tour through the flagship of CTF 508, HNLMS Evertsen. During this tour the Russian delegation talked with the Enhanced Boarding Team and the advanced resuscitation medical team.
“Counter-piracy is truly a combined effort of the international community”, stated Cdre Bekkering after the visit. “Like NATO’s navies, the Russian navy has been present in the waters off Somalia ever since piracy became a scourge to the merchant shipping there. And ever since that moment, NATO’s task force commanders have been meeting with their Russian counterparts. This has resulted in increased coordination and cooperation. Having met Captain Kondratov and having been able to share thoughts, I am convinced we now know when and where to find each other when needed, to the benefit of the overall counter-piracy effort”.
(NATO news release, 20 June 2012)