NATO and Russian Naval Commanders Meet in the Gulf of Aden

Captain first rank Ivan Kovalyov and Commodore Henning Amundsen

From NATO:  Commodore Henning Amundsen, who currently commands NATO’s counter-piracy effort, Operation Ocean Shield, welcomed Captain first rank Ivan Kovalyov, Commander of the Russian Federation Baltic Fleet Task Group, on board the NATO flagship HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the two Commanders to discuss Naval Operations and in particular common procedures and areas of cooperation related to countering the threat of piracy. Among the topics discussed were helicopter operations, communication procedures, and medical support.

HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen and the Russian frigate Neustrashimy are at the moment both patrolling the Internationally Recommended Transfer Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden. Commercial ships use this corridor to take advantage of the naval protection offered by NATO, the EU and several international navies, including the Russian Navy.

According a recent report released by the World Bank on 11 April, the number of piracy incidents has been falling since 2012, thanks in part to mobilization of international naval forces and the adoption by the shipping industry of best practices to fend off pirate attacks. However, despite the decline in pirate attacks the World Bank also estimates that piracy costs the global economy roughly US$18 billion a year in increased trade costs. . . .

During the Russian delegation’s visit to the flagship, a number of officers from HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen visited the Russian frigate Neustrashimy to exchange experiences and discuss the current situation in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.

After the meeting, Commodore Amundsen said: “The Russian task group plays an essential part in securing this vital shipping corridor and provides a significant contribution to the international counter piracy effort. Having taken over as NATO’s Commander of Ocean Shield last week, it is important for me to continue the good relationship already established between NATO and Russia, and look for new ways to optimize the coordination and cooperation of military assets in the area.”  (photo: NATO Maritime Command)

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