Nato-Russia Council

Counter-piracy exchanges continue with new commander

NATO-Russia Council counter-piracy Norwegian and Russian meeting 01Counter-piracy commanders Commodore Amundsen and Captain Kovalyov aboard HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen

NATO’s new commander of counter piracy operation Ocean Shield, Commodore Henning Amundsen welcomed Captain Ivan Kovalyov, Commander of the Russian Federation Baltic Fleet Task Group, on board the NATO flagship HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen, on 10 June. It was the fourth meeting in recent months between NATO and Russian ships in the area.

During an earlier meeting in April, USS Nicholas and RFS Severomorsk engaged in a series joint training exercises aimed to improve tactics to deter, disrupt and protect against piracy.

The meeting on 10 June provided an opportunity for the two commanders to discuss Naval Operations, in particular common procedures, helicopter operations, communication procedures, and medical support. During the Russian delegation’s visit aboard the flagship, a number of officers from HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen visited the Russian frigate Neustrashimyy to exchange experiences and discuss the current situation in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.

Commodore Amundsen said:

“The 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’s Commander of operation Ocean Shield last week, it is important for me to continue the good relationship already established between NATO and Russia, and I look for new ways to optimize the coordination and cooperation of military assets in the area.”

NATO-Russia Council counter-piracy Norwegian and Russian meeting 02The Russian counter-piracy task force delegation aboard HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen with their Norwegian counterparts.

NATO-Russia Council Counter-Piracy Cooperation

Counter piracy dialogue through the NATO-Russia Council began in 2008 when NATO and Russian ships were first deployed to the Horn of Africa. Piracy was identified as one of the key common security challenges in the Joint review of 21st Century Common Security Challenges, which was endorsed at the Council's Lisbon Summit in 2010. Cooperation has been taking place at a tactical level, as well as through political discussions and events aimed at sharing lessons-learned, in particular at the operation commanders’ level. Naval ship commanders meet at sea to exchange situational awareness and discuss the areas where their ships will be operating. Discussions are underway exploring the potential for NATO and Russia to provide mutual support, including medical assistance and refuelling for ships engaged in counter piracy at sea. NATO-Russia Council nations are also seeking to improve communications between their ships off the Horn of Africa and are considering installing a NATO secure communications system aboard Russian ships deployed to the region. Cooperating against the threat of piracy to the thousands of ships passing the Horn of Africa is set to remain an important topic on the Council’s agenda.