The 41st Shared Awareness and De-Confliction (SHADE) conference took place in Bahrain, on 21st and 22nd November and chaired by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), with renewed worldwide interest following very recent piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia and into the Western Indian Ocean.
Over 120 stakeholders, including Independent Naval Counter-piracy representatives from China, India, Japan, Korea and Russia, presented their latest tactical counter-piracy efforts to ensure the safety of maritime trade through this essential trade route. Major maritime stakeholders from the shipping industry put forward their concerns over the instability in the region and the real threat to the safe transfer of commence.
EU NAVFOR and its Maritime Security Centre (MSCHOA.org) play a pivotal role in optimising coordination and de-conflicting operations between all naval forces deployed off the Horn of Africa fighting the piracy threats. Colonel Richard Cantrill, Chief of Staff, EU NAVFOR and Simon Church, Director at MSCHOA, represented Operation Atalanta’s effort to deter and repress piracy and were welcomed to the event by CMF Commander Vice Admiral Aquilino USN, SHADE is chaired on a rotational basis between CMF and EU NAVFOR. Presentations were given by China, India and Russia on their ongoing naval counter piracy operations as well as a comprehensive overview of regional maritime security threats by CMF.
During the event Simon Church mentioned: “The Shipping Industry are a key partner in SHADE and it has been great to see representatives from OCIMF, Intertanko, ICS and BIMCO here” he added: “for the first time at SHADE we saw a panel of Company Security Officers covering the Tanker, LNG, Dry-bulk and Container sectors take part in an interactive forum which has helped deepen the understanding of the pressures in risk management that CSO’s carry.”
Given the diversification of emerging threats from Yemen and the establishment of the new Maritime Security Transit Corridor (MSTC) in the Gulf of Aden linking the Bab El Mandeb Straits., there was an opportunity for both Military Forces and Shipping Industry Representatives to explore how to address the complex and fluid threat dynamic that now exists in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.
Furthermore the recent attack by a Pirate Action Group against the 55,000t Container Ship MV Ever Dynamic and on the Fishing Vessel Gallerna III in the same vicinity 300 miles east of Mogadishu demonstrated the existing capabilities for long range pirate activity. This targeted approach to shipping provides evidence of the continued need for Naval Force presence across the both the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin. Importantly, as well as the continuing application of Best Management Practices (BMP) by ships in the High Risk Area and time critical coordination between Naval Assets, MSCHOA and UKMTO.