NATO and China Cooperate to Fight Piracy
The fight against piracy is an international effort. This is especially clear off the coast of Somalia, where a recent meeting at sea between Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan Azmi Tosun, the Commander of NATO’s Counter Piracy Mission, Operation Ocean Shield, and his Chinese counterpart, Rear Admiral LI Shihong, illustrates how cooperation is the key to fighting this global threat.
NATO has contributed to the international counter-piracy effort off the Horn of Africa since December 2008, working with other international actors to disrupt pirate attacks and develop the capacity of countries in the region to tackle piracy on their own. The wider region has seen a 20 % increase in pirate attacks against commercial shipping between 2010 and 2011. But through cooperation between NATO and its international partners in disrupting these attacks, successful hijacking are down 45% for the same period.
The two naval commanders paid reciprocal visits to each others’ flagships on the same day, while the Chinese Task Group ships were escorting a convoy and the NATO flagship, a Turkish frigate named TCG Giresun, was patrolling through the Gulf of Aden. “The Chinese Navy has supported the counter piracy efforts by providing escorts to merchant vessels passing through the region in cooperation with other navies. This support by other actors in theatre allow NATO maritime forces to fight against piracy in different ways such as intercepting any upcoming threat to the maritime community, which increase the effectiveness of our mutual efforts,” said Rear Admiral Tosun. “We both expressed our determination to improve the cooperation between NATO and Chinese units.”
During these warm and constructive meetings, both Commanders had an opportunity to share information and experiences about their counter -piracy operations, learn more of each other’s capabilities and also discuss matters of mutual concern in how to tackle piracy.