Russian Federation and NATO Counter Piracy Exercise Completed in the Gulf of Aden
Text: Public relations service of Western Command
Photo: An example of Russia and NATO Russia cooperation at sea as the Italian Ship San Marco maneuvers on the port (left) side of the Russian Federation ship Severomorsk during a joint counter piracy exercise that took place on 26 Feb in the Gulf of Aden. nato.int
A boarding team comprising assault forces of the Russian Federation large ASW ship Severomorsk and Italian marines from the NATO flagship San Marco, in charge of Operation Ocean Shield, trained together in counter-piracy activities as part of a bilateral exercise between Russia and NATO in the Gulf of Aden on 26 February.
The exercise was organised in the context of counter-piracy cooperation agreed by the NATO-Russia Council (NRC). It was planned as a result of recent meetings at sea between the two naval forces, and represents a significant step forward towards NATO-Russia interoperability in counter-piracy activities in the Indian Ocean.
"This day will be a milestone in the cooperation between the Russian Federation and NATO and, I'm sure, its effects will not only be lim ited to counter-piracy activities but offers the prospect of other types of constructive engagement in future", said Rear Admiral Antonio Natale at the end of the exercise.
The exercise was conducted in two main phases; during the first phase, San Marco played the part of a hijacked vessel with Severomorsk taking the role of a counter piracy vessel which sent an assault team to free her. The Russian Navy assault team from the Severomorsk landed by helicopter on the deck of the San Marco and successfully captured the pretend pirates. The Russian team were using the NATO ship to practice boarding procedures to free hostages.
In the second phase, Severomorsk played the role of a vessel involved in illegal weapons trafficking and San Marco was a naval vessel looking for evidence of illegal activity and sent a boarding team to inspect the vessel. The NATO boarding team from San Marco was lowered by helicopter onto the deck of Severomorsk and with the cooperation of the Russian Navy practiced search procedures looking for evidence of illegal activity.