Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun, Commander SNMG-2, On Piracy

Turkish contribution to NATO’s SNMG-2, F-491 TCG Giresun made a short port visit during DIMDEX maritime defence exhibition, in Doha, Qatar.

TCG Giresun is one of the seven Gabya (ex-Perry) class frigate in Turkish inventory that received the GENESIS modernization. She is also the flag ship of the SNMG-2. After attending the DIMDEX, TCG Giresun made a 6 day port visit in Dubai as part of efforts to boost cooperation with the UAE Navy against maritime piracy.

Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun, told some interesting information about the NATO activities in Gulf of Aden in order to combat the piracy issue.

This is from Khaleej Times:

Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun, Commander (SNMTG2), said the visit was part of a regional stop and an opportunity to gain from naval alliances.

 “We had officers from the UAE’s Navy who visited us upon arrival, and we have spoken to each other about strengthening relations as they are one of the main countries in this region.

It is also to have alliances against piracy with as many countries as possible in order to have direct communication and perform better in case of emergencies,” he said. He spoke of operational areas that need development.

“We need to develop special prosecution operations as a unified organisation that determines those pirates’ fate, instead of handing them over to their governments,” he said. Around 22,000 ships pass through the Gulf of Aden annually and 50 per cent of the world’s containers are using these waters for transportation.

“These figures clearly represent a target-rich environment for those pirates. So the ability to safely navigate these waters without fear is of importance for both NATO and the wider international community.”

“To look for a motor boat in an area extending to almost 2,500 square kilometres (1,800 square miles) is indeed like searching for a needle in a haystack,” he said of the hunt for pirates.  The first 13 days of January were busy ones for NATO’s counter-piracy task force. They successfully stopped and disrupted three separate pirate groups from launching attacks on legitimate maritime traffic. NATO has contributed to the international counter-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa since December 2008. The mission has expanded from escorting the UN and World Food Programme Shipping under Operation Allied Provider and protecting merchant traffic in the Gulf of Aden under Operation Allied Protector.

This is from The National:

Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun, the Turk serving as commanding officer of the Standing Nato Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), said only six merchant vessels were taken for ransom in the past eight months, compared with 36 in the eight months before. Admiral Tosun said there had been a drop of 60 per cent since 2008.

“Nato, in conjunction with other actors, is succeeding in countering piracy,” he said. Admiral Tosun said that last year 1,026 hostages were taken hostage and ransoms totalling US$146 million (Dh536.2m) were paid to free 30 vessels.

The estimated cost of piracy to the global economy is between $8 billion and $12bn a year, he said. “Regional countries are aware and interested in strategic engagements,” said Admiral Tosun.”On any given day there are between 12 and 25 warships and air units operating in the Gulf of Aden and Somali basin.” 

Ships with razor wire and water cannon to protect themselves are not immune, but are certainly less likely to be captured by pirates, said Admiral Tosun. He recommended the presence of armed guards on ships as “an effective way to prevent pirate attacks”. 

If a ship comes under attack, the TCG Giresun springs into action. “We go to the rescue of troubled ships as soon as we get the distress call,” said Cmdr Mehmet Dagci, the executive officer aboard the flagship. “We dispatch a helicopter with one or two members to help the vessel thwart the pirate attack. We also have a command centre where we monitor all the time.”

Admiral Tosun said Somali authorities in Puntland and Galmudug were ready to take action against pirates, and that tribal tolerance of the crime was decreasing.

“We held two meetings with Puntland representatives of Bosaso and Garacad during our command period,” he said, adding they were encouraging local leaders to take up the battle.

For me the most interesting information was the fact that NATO in dialog with Puntland representatives of Bosaso and Garacad. These meetings manifest my firm believe that the root of the piracy problem lies on land and the piracy menace can only be solved on land and not by catching and releasing pirates on high sea.

One Response to Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun, Commander SNMG-2, On Piracy

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