Denmark Concludes Command of SNMG1, Counter-Piracy Task Force 508
NORTHWOOD, UK – Today Commodore Aage Buur Jensen and key members of his staff visited NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) to formally hand over command of Standing Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and NATO's counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD Task Force 508 (TF-508).
"Commodore Jensen and his team are to be commended for their outstanding support to counter-piracy and maritime security in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin," said Vice Admiral Peter Hudson, Commander NATO Allied Maritime Command. "This deployment has taken positive steps towards creating a future environment where Somali piracy is successfully policed by the Somalis and their neighbors. We are not there yet, but together with the international community, we are making significant progress."
Commodore Jensen and his staff have been in command of SNMG1 since the end of May and TF-508 from mid-June. Operating mainly in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin, TF-508 has contributed to safety and security of commercial shipping traffic in this region. During the Danish deployment, there have been no successful pirate attacks in the area of operations, due to the combined efforts of the merchant shipping community to adopt best management practices and self-defence measures, the presence of naval warships patrolling the region, and the efforts to build regional capacity to deal with the piracy problem without international assistance.
"Piracy is clearly suppressed but not eliminated, and still 30 persons are held as hostages by Somali pirates, so it is important that the effort to prevent acts of piracy continues," said Commodore Jensen. "I am convinced that the true strength of the counter-piracy efforts lies in the continued close cooperation and information sharing between the task forces and independent deployers, as well as organisations and authorities working and operating ashore."
Besides more traditional counter-piracy activities such as patrolling and gathering of intelligence, TF-508 under the command of Commodore Jensen has engaged with Somali authorities while afloat to support positive developments ashore. On three occasions, training of Somali coast guard and port police personnel has been conducted on board the flagship HDMS ESBERN SNARE as an important step towards the long term goal of Somali forces maintaining maritime security themselves.
More traditional training has also been successfully conducted, such as a combined exercise with the Royal Omani Navy and two combined exercises with Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces also conducting counter-piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
"It has been a most rewarding experience, and I thank my staff and the crews of the ships for their tireless effort to not just run, but rather develop and evolve NATO's counter-piracy effort to the next level," said Commodore Jensen.