NATO and Chinese Commanders discuss counter-piracy operations
On 11 January 2010, Portuguese Rear Admiral Pereira da Cunha, Commander of NATO's counter piracy Task Force 508 (TF 508) had a successful meeting with the head of mission of the Chinese counter piracy forces, Senior Captain Zha Bao Raw, on board of the Chinese frigate "Chao Hu" to discuss counterpiracy operations off the Horn of Africa (HOA).
Both task forces are operating in the Internationally Recognized Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden, which was established in 2008 to provide international shipping a safe route from piracy.
Rear Admiral Da Cunha stated that the level of communication and teamwork among all the nations conducting counter-piracy operations is improving. "We have come a long way in our international cooperation and collective counter-piracy efforts to have the NATO task force commander coming aboard a Chinese frigate and discuss counter-piracy tactics. This is now an integral part of our routine operations in the Gulf of Aden," said Da Cunha. "There is an extraordinary level of communication and cooperation among all of the nations conducting counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden," he added. "Because of our close cooperation with the European Union, the US-led Task Force and independent navies, we've been able to prevent several suspected pirate attacks."
Task Force 508, deployed under NATO's operation Ocean Shield, is synchronizing and deconflicting counter-piracy operations with more than 15 nations that have deployed naval forces off the coast of Somalia. The task force conducts counter piracy operations to actively deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect maritime security and secure freedom of navigation in this part of the world for the benefit of all nations.