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NATO and Japan Counter-Piracy Forces Strengthen Relations in the Gulf of Aden

GULF OF ADEN – Yesterday, NATO and Japanese maritime forces continued to strengthen relations and enhance interoperability by conducting a combined exercise in the Gulf of Aden. It was a follow-on to the first-ever exercise between the two counter-piracy forces that took place two months ago.

Like the first exercise, the participants were the destroyer JS TAKANAMI, operating as part of Combined Task Force 151, and HDMS ESBERN SNARE, the Task Force 508 flagship of NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD.

The exercise focused on further enhancing the skills that were tested during the first exercise: communications, the use of tactical data links and tactical operations. Live firing gunnery exercises were also conducted.

During the exercise, Commander of the NATO Task Force 508, Commodore Aage Buur Jensen, visited JS TAKANAMI to observe part of the action from the Japanese ship.  

"Japan is a valued partner for NATO, and it is a pleasure to see how cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces (JMSDF) and NATO is being consolidated,” said Commodore Jensen. "Coordinating our activities and sharing information are cornerstones in the counter-piracy effort in this region. By conducting combined exercises as we did two months ago and again today, doing exactly that becomes much easier.”

Following the end of the exercise and the transfer of personnel between JS TAKANAMI and HDMS ESBERN SNARE, the two ships continued their counter-piracy operations off Somalia.

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