Turkey Assumes Command of NATO’s Counter Piracy Task Force

Rear Admi­ral Sinan Azmi TOSUN (Turk­ish Navy), assumed the com­mand of Oper­a­tion Ocean Shield, NATO’s counter pira­cy force, from Rear Admi­ral Gualtiero MATTESI (Ital­ian Navy) who com­plet­ed a 6‑month deploy­ment in the region.

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Source: NATO

As the han­dover was com­plet­ed, Rear Admi­ral Sinan Azmi TOSUN stat­ed “I am extreme­ly proud to take over com­mand of such a task force from my pre­de­ces­sor, Rear Admi­ral Gualtiero MATTESI. I would like to thank Rear Admi­ral MATTESI and his dis­tin­guished staff for the excel­lent job they have done over the peri­od of last six months. They can be real­ly proud of hav­ing played a con­sid­er­able part in con­tribut­ing to the decline in pirate activ­i­ty in the Gulf of Aden in recent months. We had a smooth oper­a­tional han­dover and now we are ready to con­tin­ue this impor­tant task as NATO’s counter pira­cy Task Force. Pow­er­ful and res­olute units under my com­mand will con­tin­ue to fight against pira­cy with the same enthu­si­asm in order to safe­guard the mer­chant com­mu­ni­ty on behalf of NATO dur­ing the next six-month peri­od. I wish Rear Admi­ral MATTESI and his staff a safe trip back home and to their loved ones.” 

Dur­ing their deploy­ment RAdm Mat­te­si and his flag­ship, the ITS Andrea Doria res­cued 26 mem­bers of the crew of the Motor Ves­sel Pacif­ic Express which had been hijacked by pirates. Just three weeks lat­er, the flag­ship freed the 18 crew of the Ital­ian Motor Ves­sel Mon­te­cristo which had been pirat­ed but which was inter­cept­ed and freed soon after. Three days lat­er ITS Andrea Doria stopped the moth­er ship that launched the skiffs respon­si­ble for the attack and arrest­ed 15 sus­pect­ed pirates who are now await­ing tri­al in Italy. 

Back­ground Infor­ma­tion:

NATO has con­tributed to the inter­na­tion­al counter pira­cy effort off the Horn of Africa since Decem­ber 2008. The mis­sion has expand­ed from escort­ing UN and World Food Pro­gramme Ship­ping under Oper­a­tion Allied Provider and pro­tect­ing mer­chant traf­fic in the Gulf of Aden under Oper­a­tion Allied Pro­tec­tor. In addi­tion to these activ­i­ties and as part of the lat­est mis­sion, 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. 

Stand­ing NATO Mar­itime Group 2 (SNMG2) is per­ma­nent­ly assigned to NATO. It is a mul­ti-nation­al Naval Group that pro­vides the NATO Alliance with the abil­i­ty to respond quick­ly to cri­sis sit­u­a­tions any­where in the world. It is a capa­ble, stand-alone task group and one of four Stand­ing Mar­itime Ele­ments that form a flex­i­ble core around which NATO can build a larg­er force to meet a wide range of mis­sions. These include non-com­bat­ant evac­u­a­tions, con­se­quence man­age­ment, counter ter­ror­ism, cri­sis response and embar­go oper­a­tions. Its com­mand rotates amongst the con­tribut­ing nations and SNMG 2 is cur­rent­ly com­mand­ed by Rear Admi­ral (LH) Sinan Azmi TOSUN, Turk­ish Navy. 

NATO Forces cur­rent­ly in Oper­a­tion Ocean Shield:
TCG GIRESUN (Flag ship) – Turkey
HDMS ABSALON – Den­mark
ITS GRECALE – Italy
RFA FORT VICTORIA – Unit­ed King­dom
USS DEWERT — Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca
USS CARNEY — Unit­ed States of America 

Source:
Allied Com­mand Oper­a­tions
NATO 

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