American Naval Forces (with a Japanese assist) Capture Pirates
it's a busy world
USS Mason (DDG 87) finds herself in the thick of it again - this time with an assist (this is a big deal BTW), it appears by the Japanese Navy who are there as part of CTF-151;
UKMTO put the Central Park's location over 60 kilometers (35 miles) south of Yemen's coast, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Djibouti and around 110 kilometers (70 miles) northeast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden, a key shipping route.
…attackers seized the Liberian-flagged Central Park, managed by Zodiac Maritime, in the Gulf of Aden, the company, the U.S. and British militaries and private intelligence firm Ambrey said.
Early Monday morning, Zodiac said the vessel carrying phosphoric acid and its crew of 22 sailors from Bulgaria, Georgia, India, the Philippines, Russia, Turkey and Vietnam were “unharmed.”
As usual, Jennifer Griffin give a good executive summary of the action, but this is what I found most interesting;
MASON just entered the Red Sea about three weeks ago;
They are highly useful Murasame Class destroyers of 6,200 tons - roughly between the US Navy’s late, great Spruance Class and Oliver Hazard Perry Class - really the kind of ship that should have followed on the OHPs if we still built warship generations like a sane country.
Here is the IKAZUCHI in the company of the ESPS Navarra (F85) last month in the Gulf of Aden with CTF-151.
IKAZUCHI was commissioned in 2001, Hull-7 of a 9 ship class. Yes, NAVARRA is of the Santa Maria Class of the Spanish Navy, the built 6 OHPs on their own. NAVARRA is Hull-5 of that 6 ship class, commissioned in 1992. Yes, other nations used to build American designed frigates, now we build their designs.
Anyway, let’s not turn this in to a frigate rage - however much I may like that (perhaps ya’ll can pick it up in the comments).
Though MASON is part of the Eisenhower Strike Group in the area, the Japanese and other naval forces there are mostly part of CTF-151, the combined task force focused on piracy near the Horn of Africa since 2009.
It is a welcome sight to see Japan step by step become more of a player in the international security arena. They are great allies and responsible professionals. CTF-151 has been just the right arena for them to get used to it.
They’re not the only ones … and not everyone has as admiral goal as the Japanese.
CTF-151 has been a great opportunity for naval forces around the world to hone their ability to operate with other nations on a global basis, not just the ones who support the international order. The People Republic of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has used it more than almost any other to show the flag, get her nose under all sorts of tents, and to steal, build, and spy for the good of the CCP.
The note about the PRC ships not responding it telling. CTF-151 is a counter piracy force. If you are not going to respond to cries for help from merchantmen from piracy, then why are you actually there? Well, see the prior paragraph.
Come to speak of it - what has she really done to counter pirates?
Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar on Wednesday said that China has maintained a continuous presence in the Indian Ocean region since 2008 by leveraging anti-piracy operations, PTI reported.
Since 2008, China has deployed 120 warships in the Indian Ocean under its anti-piracy operations, according the Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses. In 2015, China also deployed a nuclear attack submarine for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
The institute has observed that nuclear attack submarines are not suited for anti-piracy operations.
“At any point we have anything between five to eight Chinese Navy units, be it warships or research vessels and a host of Chinese fishing vessels operating in the IOR [Indian ocean region],” said Kumar. “We keep a watch on them and see how they are undertaking their activities in the IOR.”
Kumar made the statement while speaking on the security challenges that India faces at the 49th annual management convention of the All India Management Association.
Last month, a Chinese ship arrived at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port despite security concerns raised by India that it could spy on New Delhi’s military installations. Yuan Wang 5 docked at the Chinese-built and leased Hambantota port and has been described as a research and survey vessel, but Indian media reports claimed that it is a dual-use spy ship.
“China now has a base in Djibouti, and have been involved in development of various ports in the Indian Ocean region, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Pakistan and so many other countries,” the Navy chief said.
China’s naval base in Djibouti is its first overseas military station in the Indian Ocean region built at a cost of $590 million (Rs 4,711 crore), reported NDTV. The base with Chinese warships is located in the strategic Bab-El-Mandeb Strait which separates the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea and guards the approach to the Suez Canal.
If they aren’t going to be a constructive player in CTF-151, then they should be uninvited.
The rest of the world should take the PRC’s ambitions as seriously as they do.
Oh, and what did the MASON get for her troubles?
On Nov. 26, the USS MASON (DDG 87), with allied ships from our coalition counter-piracy task force (TF 151), and associated aircraft responded to a distress call from the M/V CENTRAL PARK, a commercial vessel, that they were under attack by an unknown entity. Upon arrival, coalition elements demanded release of the vessel. Subsequently, five armed individuals debarked the ship and attempted to flee via their small boat. The MASON pursued the attackers resulting in their eventual surrender. The crew of the M/V CENTRAL PARK is currently safe.
At approximately 0141 on Nov. 27 Sanaa time, two ballistic missiles were fired from Houthi controlled areas in Yemen toward the general location of the USS MASON (DDG 87) and M/V CENTRAL PARK. The missiles landed in the Gulf of Aden approximately ten nautical miles from the ships. The USS MASON (DDG87), which is part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, was concluding its response to the M/V CENTRAL PARK distress call at the time of the missile launches. There was no damage or reported injuries from either vessel during this incident.
“Maritime domain security is essential to regional stability,” said Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, USCENTCOM commander. “We will continue to work with allies and partners to ensure the safety and security of international shipping lanes.”
You can’t buy training like that.