|Admiral Credendino (Centre) Flanked by Captain Hirokazu Yamazaki and Commander Masahiro Suzuki|
The Force Commander, who was accompanied by members of his staff, was welcomed onboard by the Commander of “Escort Group 5”, Captain Hirokazu Yamazaki. Admiral Credendino was then received by JS Ikazuchi’s Commanding Officer, Commander Masahiro Suzuki.
The visit confirmed the necessity to cooperate with ‘independent deployers’ in the area, individual states sending vessels to protect maritime trade against piracy but not operating directly under one of the three international task forces. Although the primary mission of the Japanese ships is to escort their merchant ships through the Gulf of Aden, their presence in the area only adds to the deterent against potential pirates. “We are both here for the same reason: putting an end to piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.” – said Rear Admiral Credendino – “Cooperation between main counter-piracy and escorting forces in these waters is fundamental to the success of our mission”.
Visits such as this help to better coordinate the sharing of information between all counter piracy forces in the Western Indian Ocean. The Japanese also operate a maritime patrol aircraft from Djibouti which provides invaluable intelligence as to the movements of suspected pirates, allowing forces to act in good time to protect vessels potentially under threat.