Cdre Bekkering with the commander of the Djiboutian Navy, Capt Aden Cher
Over the weekend, NATO's counter piracy flagship, HNLMS Evertsen made a short logistical stop in Djibouti. Besides replenishing supplies for the weeks to come at sea, the time in port was used to meet various regional and international partners.
"Making the most out of the visit, that is what I'm driving at”, says the new Commander of NATO's counter piracy task force Cdre Ben Bekkering (NLD N).
During the 36-hour visit Cdre Bekkering shared thoughts on counter piracy with the Deputy Commander of the French Forces Djibouti, exchanged information with the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) detachment of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force and discussed training opportunities with the Commander of the Combined Joint Task Force / Horn of Africa. "All these commands play their role in creating a secure environment. Mutual understanding helps to de-conflict and to better reinforce activities. I was also pleased to learn about the potential for further coordination and cooperation”, reflects the commodore.
Productive talks with regional key leaders, like the commander of the Djiboutian Navy and the first secretary of the Djiboutian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided very useful local perspectives. The First Secretary, Mohamad Ali Assan, explained the importance of counter piracy: "We are a maritime port and an important logistic hub for the hinterland. If our economy is affected by piracy, the whole region is. We know that a collective international approach is needed to counter this risk and that it's not possible without our allies, like NATO.”
A team from the Djiboutian Coast Guard visited HNLMS Evertsen and was briefed on Best Management Practices, protective measures that can be carried out by merchant vessels to prevent a pirate attack. This will allow the Coast Guard to brief and prepare merchant vessels that sail in and out of Djibouti. Evertsen also demonstrated basic detainee handling techniques.
"With this much appreciated exchange of information, we can align our own procedures and improve our skills”, explained one of the Djiboutian coast guard members.