On the 10th of May, the EU, Japan and Djibouti carried out a joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden in a continued effort to strengthen the efficiency of tactical procedures between navies. The exercise builds on the joint naval exercise and joint port call in Djibouti between Operation Atalanta Combined Joint Task Force 465 and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force last October.
It comes after the adoption of an EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, last month, calling for increased joint activities in order to promote maritime security in the region.
The 20-hour exercise based on a counter-piracy scenario involved Operation Atalanta flagship, ITS Carabiniere, the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force destroyer JS Setogiri, Djibouti Coast Guard patrol boats and the Djiboutian Navy operating from their Navy Maritime Awareness Centre.
The joint activities included cross-deck helicopter landings, tactical manoeuvres at sea and a joint night patrol. The afloat assets where later joined by Operation Atalanta´s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), Spanish P3-M named ‘CISNE’, based in Djibouti, which conducted a long surveillance flight over an extensive area of the Indian Ocean. Its presence is a reminder of the need for combined efforts to fight piracy efficiently, given the vast Area of Operations.
The EU, Japan and Djibouti remain committed to maintaining the rules-based international order, including practical maritime cooperation to foster the high seas freedom of navigation and overflight. Securing critical maritime routes and protecting the international maritime domain from all traditional and non-traditional threats is vital for more prosperity through peaceful and stable oceans. Together with their partners, the EU, Japan and Djibouti continue their efforts and contribute to maintaining and strengthening the stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development of the region.
We thank the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japanese Ministry of Defense, as well as the Djiboutian Authorities for their continued, much-valued cooperation!