Dutch Frigate HNLMS Van Speijk, part of NATO‚Äôs counter-piracy Operation Ocean Shield, together with the Seychelles Coast Guard, conducted a maritime exercise this week focusing on search and rescue operations. The exercise which took place on Monday (29 July 2013) was meant to build closer cooperation and coordination between the Coast Guard and NATO warships patrolling the Indian Ocean.
Van Speijk‚Äôs port visit to the Seychelles presented a valuable opportunity to maintain and improve the skills needed to support seafarers in distress. ‚ÄúThe Seychelles has proven to be one of the most active regional states and is a very important partner in our counter-piracy effort,‚Äù said Commodore Henning Amundsen, Commander of Operation Ocean Shield.¬†‚ÄúNATO and the Seychelles share a common goal, to allow people and goods to freely travel the Indian Ocean. We will continue our close cooperation to secure this goal.‚Äù
Sharing knowledge, skills and training with regional players is a vital part of NATO‚Äôs counter-piracy mission. A delegation of medical specialists from the Dutch warship also recently conducted a visit to the Chinese hospital ship CNS Daishandao (Peace Ark). The Chinese ship is on a five-month tour in the Far East and Indian Ocean and was in the Gulf of Aden to cooperate with the counter-piracy forces in the region. Experts from the two ships exchanged information on medical treatment, and ways to enhance medical cooperation between various navies in the region.
NATO has contributed to the international counter piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008. As part of 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‚Äôs counter-piracy mandate for Operation Ocean Shield¬† runs until the end of 2014.
NATO Forces currently in Operation Ocean Shield:
- HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen (Norway)
- HNMLS Van Speijk (Netherlands)