Visited Operation Ocean Shield
The task of NATOs counter-piracy operation Ocean Shield is to protect merchant ships against pirates in the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa. Last weekend, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon visited the Norwegian troops on board the flagship HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen.
Launched in 2009 with a mandate from the UN Security Council, the operation involves the participation of vessels from many nations. Command is assigned on a rotational basis, and Norway is in command of the operation from the beginning of June 2013 to the beginning of December 2013.
In the past decade, pirates have posed a major threat to ships and their crews in the Gulf of Aden and surrounding areas. Each year some 20 000 vessels pass through the waters off the Horn of Africa. Some 1 000 of these are Norwegian. There has been a significant reduction in the number of pirate attacks in recent months. While several hundred attacks have been reported in previous years, only 14 have been reported so far in 2013.
Crown Prince Haakon lauded the crew and their efforts on board the Norwegian frigate:
In the course of my visit on board the HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen I have learned a great deal about the operation and the efforts of the staff and crew. It is evident that the activities here are contributing to the success of what I consider to be a very effective operation.