EU NAVFOR Somalia and Combined Maritime Forces welcome international delegates to 45th SHADE conference

Nov 25, 2019 - 15:43
“EU NAVFOR Somalia strongly believes that coordination and cooperation in order to deliver military effects is more than ever required.”

Captain Luis Diaz Puente
EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA Chief of Staff

Kingdom of Bahrain, 23 November 2019—EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA and the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) welcomed over 100 delegates from various nations and international organisations to the 45th Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) conference in the Kingdom of Bahrain this week.

The attendees come together twice every year with the common interest of combatting Somali-based piracy. SHADE provides a forum in which all parties can understand and share the challenges and opportunities involved in conducting counter-piracy operations in the waters off the coast of the Horn of Africa. This 45th conference was organised by Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and co-chaired by EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA.

EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA Chief of Staff, Captain Luis Diaz Puente, addressed the attendees, highlighting how Operation ATALANTA regularly uses focused operations and key leader engagements to better understand the state of affairs in Somalia. Captain Diaz Puente also recounted Operation ATALANTA’s recent success in disrupting a piracy attack, wherein former Operation ATALANTA Flagship the ESPS NAVARRA worked with German and Spanish maritime patrol aircrafts to deter the attack, capture five suspected pirates and release 23 hostages.

“EU NAVFOR Somalia strongly believes that coordination and cooperation in order to deliver military effects is more than ever required,” said Captain Diaz Puente.

Keynote speeches and working groups provided an opportunity for military and industry partners to share information and work collaboratively to de-conflict their operations and activities. Other speakers at the 45th SHADE Conference included Jakob Larsen, Head of Maritime Security at BIMCO, the world’s largest international shipping association, and John Steed MBE, an expert in maritime crime, conflict resolution, negotiation and African geopolitics from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Delegates also heard from Cdr Ben Keith RN, Head of Operations in the recently launched International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC).

EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA was launched in December 2008 and CMF has been involved in counter-piracy operations since 2009. Thanks to the organisations involved in SHADE and cooperation on behalf of the shipping industry, the number of yearly piracy incidents has greatly decreased. However, the threat of piracy still exists and the need for all maritime agencies to work closely and remain vigilant is essential to retain freedom of navigation for legitimate seafarers. It is still recommended that all seafarers follow the Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea and seafarers may register their vessels via Operation ATALANTA’s Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA).

The 46th SHADE is planned for 21-22 April 2020. Any government official, law enforcement officer, military delegate or organisation official involved in operations to counter piracy may attend.