NATO and China Meet in Gulf of Aden

Rear Admiral Zhou Xuming and Commodore Ben Bekkering onboard NATO’s counter piracy flagship, HNLMS Rotterdam

From Allied Command Operations:  Yesterday, NATO and China met in the Gulf of Aden, where Commodore Ben Bekkering welcomed his Chinese counterpart Rear Admiral Zhou Xuming onboard NATO’s counter piracy flagship, HNLMS Rotterdam.

"International cooperation is the key to success”, explains Bekkering. "With so many navies – NATO, EUNAVFOR, CMF and individual nations, unity by coordination is vital. This meeting, between two of the major contributors of the counter piracy effort is just one of the coordination tools. An important tool though, where we were able to truly exchange views and thoughts.”

After informative briefings from both Task Forces, the delegations engaged in an open discussion on the subject of counter piracy. The briefings clearly underlined the impressive track record the Chinese convoy escort holds: nearly 5000 ships in almost 500 convoys have been safely escorted in recent years, without a single attack. Another topic discussed was the recent disruption of a hijacked Pakistani dhow. It allowed an exchange of experiences in the search and disruption of pirated dhows.

An extensive tour completed the visit. RADM Xuming was genuinely impressed by the joint and combined aspect of the flagship with 350 crewmembers, from all services and from 8 countries, manning an array of capabilities, from surgical medical teams to Cougar-helicopters. Before disembarking RADM Xuming stated: "This has been a very beneficial visit. The discussions deepen our mutual understanding. I have invited Commodore Bekkering to my flagship to maintain momentum of our cooperation and coordination.” An invitation Commodore Bekkering readily accepted.  (photo: Maritime Command Northwood)

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