Seoul exploring own way to contribute security in Hormuz

Persian Gulf/SoH

By Jung Da-min

Presidential Chief of Staff Noh Young-min said Thursday that the government could seek its own way to protect the lives and properties of Koreans in the Strait of Hormuz rather than participating in a U.S.-led naval coalition policing the region.

His remarks came amid Washington’s increasing pressure on Seoul to participate in the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC), a coalition of countries including the United States, Saudi Arabia, the U.K. and Bahrain sending naval units to the area to safeguard navigation.

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Source: koreatimes.co.kr

New Red Sea alliance borne out of urgent necessity

Albadr Alshateri

The Red Sea has been attracting an increasing amount of attention from Gulf states in recent years. Saudi Arabia and the UAE offered $3 billion in aid to Sudan following the ouster of former dictator Omar Al Bashir, and some states have intervened as part of the Combined Task Force off the coast of Somalia to help combat piracy in the area. Also just last week, this trend culminated in the creation of a special council for Arab and African nations bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, at a conference held in Riyadh this month.

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Source: thenational.ae

Russia-Japan Anti-Piracy Naval Drills To Be Held In Gulf Of Aden In Late January

EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA's ESPS Canarias towed the vessel belonging to Somali Navy personnel back to the Somali shore.

Russian-Japanese anti-piracy naval exercises in the Gulf of Aden will take place in late January, and will involve, for the first time, a task force from Russia‘s Baltic Fleet, Admiral Alexander Nosatov, the commander of the Baltic Fleet, said Monday.

“The ships of the Baltic Fleet took part in similar exercises with other countries, but never with the Japanese Navy … Anti-piracy exercises are upcoming, they will start sometime after the 20th of January, the planning stage is underway,” Nosatov told reporters.

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Source: urdupoint.com

JMSDF despatches two P-3C MPAs to Middle East on intelligence-gathering mission

Persian Gulf/SoH

Gabriel Dominguez

Amid tensions between Washington and Tehran, Tokyo despatched two P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) to the Middle East on 11 January to carry out intelligence-gathering operations in the region aimed at helping ensure the safety of vessels conducting commercial operations with Japan.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) mission, which was approved by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 27 December 2019, will also include the deployment to the region of Takanami-class destroyer JS Takanami , which is due to leave the Yokosuka naval base near Tokyo on 2 February.

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Source: janes.com

FS COURBET Makes First Bust of 2020

On Sunday, 5 January 2020, French Ship (FS) COURBET, in direct support of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150), seized 1,500 kg of hashish from a vessel in the Arabian Sea.

This is the second seizure for frigate FS COURBET in the last 30 days and the third for Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) since Australia assumed command in early December 2019.

Using their shipborne helicopter, FS COURBET detected the suspicious vessel and dispatched a boarding team to conduct a search. The team was able to uncover 1,500 kg of hashish hidden among unused fishing gear.

The estimated regional wholesale value of these narcotics is $780,000 U.S. dollars. The retail value of this shipment, had it reached Africa or Europe, is many times higher.

“To the terrorists who profit from the drug trade in this region, the loss of this shipment and two others in the last 30 days, represents a considerable hit to their funding,” said Commodore Ray Leggatt, Royal Australian Navy, the Commander of CTF 150.

He added “CTF 150 will continue to apply pressure with the help of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) participating nations and ships like FS COURBET. The crew of FS COURBET has been outstanding every time they have supported CTF 150 and we thank them for another job well done.”

Australian lead, CTF 150’s staff is made up of personnel from the Royal Australian, Royal Canadian, and Royal New Zealand navies. CTF 150’s mission is to disrupt terrorist organisations and their related illegal activities by restricting their freedom of manoeuvre in the maritime domain.

The activities of CTF 150 are a critical part of global counter-terrorism efforts, as terrorist organisations are denied a risk-free method of conducting operations or moving personnel, weapons or income-generating narcotics and charcoal. The cooperation and support of CMF participating nations including France is a key mission enabler.

The 33 nations of CMF work together with regional and other partners to improve overall security and stability in the Gulf, help strengthen regional nations’ maritime capabilities, and when requested, respond to environmental and humanitarian crises. This counter narcotics operation is just the latest example of cooperation in action.

Source: combinedmaritimeforces.com

Saudi Arabia Woos Horn of Africa States to Protect Red Sea, Gulf of Aden

Saudi Arabia’s move to pool countries in the Horn of Africa into a co-operation council for the Red Sea and Gulf Aden suggests officials in Riyadh are desperate to pull the region from other Middle Eastern powers.

On January 6, Riyadh hosted several foreign ministers from the Horn countries to a meeting addressed by Saudi King Salman, where it was resolved that they will form the Council of Arab and African States on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

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Source: allafrica.com

Purchased from China, 2 Warships Dock in Bangladeshi Port

Courtesy of ISPR, Bangladesh Defense Ministry

Kamran Reza Chowdhury

Two warships that Bangladesh purchased from China arrived in the South Asian nation on Thursday, officials said, less than three months after Dhaka confirmed it was negotiating to buy fighter jets and combat helicopters from the United States.

The frigates – renamed the Umar Farooq and the Abu Ubaidah – had been decommissioned by the Chinese navy and symbolically handed over to the Bangladeshi navy in China in December.

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Source: benarnews.org