Sailors Seek to Deter Piracy
By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew A. Hepburn
Special to American Forces Press Service
ABOARD USS CHOSIN AT SEA, Nov. 19, 2009 USS Chosin, home-ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, has assumed the role as flagship for the counter-piracy efforts of Combined Task Force 151 after arriving in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations as part of a regularly scheduled deployment.
"We're extremely well equipped to support this mission," said Navy Capt. Timothy Smith, the ship’s commanding officer. "An Aegis-class cruiser has an awful lot of capabilities to search and identify, perform command and control operations, collect intelligence and maintain communications related to counter piracy."
Early in the deployment, the Chosin crew sighted a suspicious group of small boats called “dhows,” and within 10 minutes coordinated and intercepted with the crew of the Italian frigate Lebeccio. The two ships operated in close quarters and coordinated all operations to ensure the safety of the boarding team.
"There is an extraordinary level of communication and cooperation among all of the nations conducting counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden," said Navy Rear Adm. Scott Sanders, commander of Combined Task Force 151. "Because of our close cooperation with the European Union, NATO and independent navies, we've been able to prevent several suspected pirate attacks."
The presence of coalition navy vessels in the region demonstrates a commitment to regional security and stability. To continue to counter and deter piracy, commercial shippers, regional governments and the international community must compliment coalition efforts, task force officials said.
Combined Task Force 151 was established in early January and has a mandate to deter and disrupt piracy in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. It includes naval forces from the United States, Spain, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Australia and Turkey.
(Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew A. Hepburn serves with the Combined Maritime Forces public affairs office.)