EU NAVFOR’s French Support Element Atalanta Commander Flies with Spanish Maritime Patrol Aircrew During Counter-Piracy PatrolJune 7, 2017 - 14:35
On Tuesday 30 May 2017, the officer in charge of EU NAVFOR’s Support Element Atalanta (SEA) based in Djibouti, Commander Jean Marc Stervinou (French Navy), took to opportunity to fly with the aircrew from the Spanish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA).
The flight was an opportunity to see firsthand the outstanding capabilities of the Spanish P3M Orion as it patrols the coastline of Somalia.
The Orion P3M is a four-engine aircraft that has seen numerous design advancements over the years, most notably to its long range surveillance capabilities, which makes it perfectly suited to EU NAVFOR counter-piracy operations.
A Spanish Air Force Contingent has been permanently deployed in Djibouti since Operation Atalanta was launched and has made a significant contribution to the suppression of pirate attacks on merchant vessels off the coast of Somalia over the past five years.
At the height of Somali-based piracy in January 2011, 736 hostages and 32 ships were being held in pirate anchorages, with ransoms being demanded for their release. Today, that figure is zero ships and zero hostages being held. That said, recent weeks have seen a surge in pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia, so EU NAVFOR has once again warned against the danger of complacency and the need for vigilance to all ships transiting the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.
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