By Yeo Sam Jo
For three months, members of the Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 remained alert and thwarted numerous piracy attempts in the Gulf of Aden.
But it was the second last morning of June this year that commander of the force Colonel Giam Hock Koon remembers the most. The task force was involved in the successful disruption of a hijacking by about a dozen Somali pirates on an Indian dhow that was carrying livestock.
“The alert was raised and we responded to it by directing the Japanese maritime patrol aircraft, which after a few searches, was able to localise this vessel and subsequently direct the adjacent task forces, which were able to pressurise the pirates into abandoning their plans,” he recalled. “This was the closest the pirates were to being successful,” added the 47-year-old navy officer.
Colonel Giam was one of 47 recipients of the SAF Overseas Service Medal on Monday at the Defence Ministry, in recognition of their counter-piracy efforts.