02 Jun 09. Piracy: Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Task Force 151. HMS PORTLAND intercepted and boarded two suspicious ships in the Gulf of Aden on 2 Jun 09 and thus prevented a possible pirate attack. HMS PORTLAND is in the area as part of CMF Task Force 151 and was working with a Spanish maritime patrol aircraft at the time.
Comment: Task Force 151 is made up of Naval Forces from Denmark, Japan, Korea (RoK), Singapore, Turkey, the UK and US. The Task Force has been established to deter piracy. The EU (Item 6) and CMF Operations are said to “work together highly effectively in pursuing common objectives”.
15 May 09. EDA prepares to launch biological detection project. EU defence ministers are poised to endorse a new research programme by the European Defence Agency (EDA) to develop detection and protective capabilities against biological agents, according to EU sources. The programme is the culmination of three years’ effort by EDA experts to persuade the agency’s 26 member nations – all EU countries except Denmark – to take a joint funding and capability development approach to this growing military threat. (Source: Jane’s, IDR)
09 Jun 09. The Royal Navy-led EU NAVFOR, the European Union’s first naval task force assembled to protect international shipping in the waters off Somalia, has partnered with Polymorph, one of the UK’s fastest growing IT services companies, to develop an intricate collaboration tool that will enable the various vessels that collectively operate under the EU NAVFOR anti-piracy initiative to exchange vital information securely in real-time. For the first time, international military vessels, including ships from the EU to NATO and other nations will be able to quickly and securely communicate and co-ordinate their anti-piracy operations in order to deal with acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. The new collaboration tool that Polymorph developed will enable the vessels involved in Operation ATALANTA to overcome current IT and communication systems limitations by providing a single secure framework to enable the counter-piracy task forces to communicate more effectively over a secure channel. The solution provides secure, real-time communication capabilities and document sharing to support the protection of vessels of the United Nations WFP (World Food Programme) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia, and the prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. After investigating a number of options, EU NAVFOR chose Polymorph for its proven-track record and expertise in delivering secure, fully-integrated and comprehensive systems. “The recent outbreak of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast has generated deep concerns globally,” commented a spokesperson from EU NAVFOR. “Operation ATALANTA is the EU response to the global action in the Horn of Africa to deal with the Somali crisis, which has political, security and humanitarian ramifications. Having reviewed the first six months of operations, we realised the requirement for a secure collaboration tool, to supersede existing systems, which would enable counter piracy efforts within the region.