Earlier today, Commodore Henning Amundsen, who currently commands NATO‚Äôs 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, where the Russian frigate has conducted convoy escort duty for the last two months. 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.
On board HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen Captain first rank Kovalyov was given a tour and a briefing focusing on the flagships ability to counter piracy. The tour included a demonstration by the flagship‚Äôs boarding team and a visit to the sickbay.
During the Russian delegation‚Äôs 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: ‚ÄúThe 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‚Äôs 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.‚Äù