Combined Maritime Forces Works With International Navies to Counter Piracy

Story Number: NNS090528-11Release Date: 5/28/2009 5:30:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan Schaeffer, Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have been working together with more than two dozen international navies to help deter, disrupt and thwart piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.

CMF, EU and NATO forces integrate their operations ashore as well as at sea in order to deconflict international efforts between Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 warships and other navies who have deployed forces to the region.

On any given day in the region, more than a dozen warships conduct counterpiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off the Eastern coast of Somalia.

"A major contributor to our success against piracy is our ability to coordinate our actions and operations with other professional navies," said Turkish Navy Rear Adm. Caner Bener, commander, CTF 151. "With more than one million square miles to patrol, synchronizing our collective efforts is essential to ensure we're protecting sea lines of communication as effectively and efficiently as possible."

The last successful pirate attack occurred May 7, when pirates seized the Netherlands Antilles-flagged MV Marathon. Since the attack, open dialogue among warships from Australia, Canada, Italy, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States has played a significant role in thwarting seven subsequent attacks.

CMF is working with international navies ashore by hosting collaborative meetings on piracy, such as Shared Awareness and Deconfliction, which provides a working-level opportunity for navies to come together to share information and deconflict counterpiracy efforts off the coast of Somalia.

Representatives from Australia, Bahrain, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Yemen, as well as from the European Naval Force and NATO took part in the meeting.

"We've seen naval forces working together whether they're independent deployers, NATO or the EU," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, CMF. "And they're working together closely for a common cause. It's occurring at the planning level, and it's occurring at the tactical level at the point of effort. This level of cooperation - it's very powerful stuff."

The following are statistics detailing the international response to piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia and piracy statistics from 2008 and 2009.

International Response: August 26, 2008 to May 28, 2009:
* 443 pirates encountered
* 212 released; 184 turned over for prosecution; 8 killed; 39 pending
* 26 pirate vessels destroyed; 12 pirate vessels confiscated
* 189 small arms, 39 RPGs, 80 RPG projectiles confiscated

2009 Piracy Statistics, as of May 28:
* 115 piracy events: 27 successful attacks, 85 unsuccessful attacks
* 14 ships and more than 200 merchant mariners currently held hostage by pirates

2008 Piracy Statistics:
* 122 piracy events: 0.37 percent of overall traffic
* 42 successful attacks, 80 unsuccessful attacks

Originally commanded and staffed by the U.S. Navy, CTF 151 is now commanded by the Turkish Navy. The command staff is comprised of personnel from Turkey, the United States, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and Greece. The command staff manages daily operations from afloat.

CTF 151 is a multinational task force established to conduct counterpiracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the CMF Area of Responsibility to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit

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