Allies train in the Gulf of Aden. On April 8, Italian and Japanese warships conducted joint exercises in the Gulf of Aden. The Italian Navy Frigate ITS Carlo Bergamini sailed alongside the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force destroyer JS Makinami, transferring personnel and conducting professional exchanges on topics related to vessel boardings and maritime security.
- They were operating under two multinational maritime partnerships: the Bahrain-based Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), with the Makinaki supporting the Seoul-led CTF 151 anti-piracy mission…
- … and the European Union Naval Forces (EUNAVFOR), within which the Bergamini is also engaged in anti-piracy operations under Task Force 465.
- The Italian ship also participated in recent EU-US naval exercises along with Spain’s Reina Sofia frigate and the USS Paul Hamilton.
Bolstering cooperation. “The combined training instilled a firm belief that our ships performing maritime operations can work together anytime and anywhere,” said Captain Kenichi Fujii, commander of Japan’s 7th Escort Division (in charge of the Makinami), to the CMF.
- Task forces from CMF and EUNAVFOR regularly collaborate to enhance interoperability through combined patrols and joint training.
- “Training opportunities that enable multinational naval forces to work together more closely enhances maritime security and stability in the Middle East. That’s why we are here,” added Rear Admiral Ko Seung-bum, the Korean officer overseeing CTF 151.
Italy is looking East. Rome is looking to extend its reach across the Indo-Pacific, both through political and economic partnerships (elevanting ties both with India and Japan, especially in the defence sector) and through its military presence in the area.
- Other than the Bergamini, the Morosini offshore patrol vessel recently departed for a five-month mission in the Far East…
- … and Italy’s flagship aircraft carrier, the Cavour, is also heading towards Indo-Pacific waters.
Image: Combined Maritime Forces Twitter profile