The Operational Commander of EU NAVFOR and the Commander of Combined Maritime Forces have agreed to promote new levels of cooperation in the international fight against piracy.
On his first visit to Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Headquarters in Bahrain on 16th Jan 2017 Major General Charlie Stickland met with Vice Admiral John C. Aquilino who is the Commander of CMF, US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the US 5th Fleet based in Bahrain. CMF includes CTF150 (Maritime Security) and CTF151 (Counter-Piracy) and these task forces work in very close cooperation with EU NAVFOR; 54 nations are involved across both organisations with the common theme of maritime security and counter-piracy.
This was an important moment for both commanders to discuss the coordination of the operations in the region. Relationships between these key military partners were further enhanced across all aspects of maritime security thereby ensuring the free flow of maritime trade and freedom of navigation. Maj Gen Stickland said: “This meeting was very timely, we have been able to cover a lot of ground and understand each other’s approach” he added: “…we are now extremely well positioned for this year’s operational and exercise opportunities – and are working more closely together now than ever before”. Over the next few months there will be a series of maritime activities (including EXERCISE CUTLASS EXPRESS) which will see cooperation between CMF and EU NAVFOR personnel working towards maritime law enforcement and the promotion of regional security.
EU NAVFOR conducts Operation Atalanta with a mandate to protect vessels of the World Food Programme; to deter and disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea; to monitor fishing activities off the coast of Somalia and also to support other EU missions and International Organisations strengthening maritime security and capacity in the region.