London: Yesterday, Commodore Michiel Hijmans, commander of the NATO counter piracy mission Operation Ocean Shield, met with Commander Podkopailo of the Russian task group at sea in the Gulf of Aden. The Russian Federation warship Admiral Vinogradov was escorting a convoy of merchant ships and passed the area where the NATO flagship HNLMS De Ruyter was patrolling.
During a constructive meeting both sides shared information on their counter piracy operations, discussed issues and possible opportunities to conduct operations and exercises as partners. Both Commanders showed their willingness to improve communications and tackle the piracy problem together, illustrating the improving relationship between NATO and the Russian federation, following the NATO Summit in Lisbon in November 2010.
The Russian Federation has been sending ships to the Gulf of Aden to protect shipping from piracy for several years now. They focus on escorting convoys from the Red Sea far into the Indian Ocean.
After the meeting, Commodore Hijmans said, "The coordination between our forces is evolving into practical cooperation. We both have our tasks to fulfil, but we have agreed to look into joint action and exercises where possible. Today's meeting will surely help us to work together to tackle piracy in the region as well as strengthening the relationship between Russia and NATO.”