European and Japanese counter piracy forces based in Djibouti have continued to operate alongside each other during handover and changes.
The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF), the EU NAVFOR Support Element Atalanta (SEA) and Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPRA) detachments have seen new leadership in their respective headquarters which has led to the opportunity to establish professional and personal relationships.
Commander Philippe Dezoteux, who recently took over command of SEA, hosted a visit from the newly appointed Commanding Officer of the Japanese Deployment Support Group, Colonel Iwakami on Thursday 15th February. This visit provided Colonel Iwakami with a better understanding of how SEA supports Operation Atalanta. He was accompanied by the Commanding Officer of the Japanese MPRA, Commander Sano. They discussed the successful work that had occurred against piracy over recent years and confirmed that they needed to keep the vigil against piracy and maritime threats.
Later they were able to meet with Lieutenant Colonel Javier Caballero Calzada, Commander of the Spanish Orion detachment working for EU NAVFOR. Both EU NAVFOR and Combined Maritime Force (CMF) Japanese MPRAs have been working to support counter-piracy and maritime security missions with many hours flown together, ensuring the free flow of maritime trade.