Change of Command in NATO Counter Piracy Task Force

The new flagship of NATO

From Allied Command Operations:  Over the weekend Commodore Christian Rune (Royal Danish Navy), the Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) handed over command of NATO’s counter piracy Task Force of warships operating off the coast of Somalia, to Commodore Michiel Hijmans (Royal Netherlands Navy). Commodore Hijmans is the Commander of SNMG2. The handover took place onboard Danish warship Esbern Snare in the Southern Red Sea.

On completion of the command handover, Commodore Rune said: "It has been a great pleasure to command the NATO forces to fight piracy off the Horn of Africa and I have been proud to serve with each and every one of them. As I hand over command to Commodore Hijmans, I know he will carry on the fight to help keep the sea lanes safer for merchant ships. …”

NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008. The mission has expanded from escorting UN and World Food Programme Shipping under Operation Allied Provider and protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector. In addition to these activities and as part of the latest mission, Operation Ocean Shield, NATO is working with other international bodies to help develop capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own. …

NATO has announced its continuing commitment to counter-piracy by extending Operation Ocean Shield to December 2012.

NATO Forces currently in Operation Ocean Shield:

HNLMS DE RUYTER (Flagship) – Netherlands
USS LABOON – United States of America

(photo: Royal Netherlands Navy/

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