President of Republic of Madagascar Visits EU Flagship ESPS Galicia During Port Visit to Diego SuarezSeptember 13, 2015 - 15:47
In the afternoon of 12th September 2015, the President of the Republic of Madagascar, His Excellency Hery Martial Rakotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina, visited the EU Naval Force flagship, ESPS Galicia, during her port visit to Diego Suarez.
The President was accompanied by the Prime Minister, His Excellency Jean Ravelonarivo, and three Ministers of his Cabinet, as well as the highest military representatives and some regional and local civil authorities.
The President was welcomed on board by the EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Alfonso Gómez Fernández de Córdoba and the Commanding Officer of ESPS Galicia, Captain Rafael Fernández-Pintado Muñoz-Rojas. He was greeted with the ‘honour of colors’ by the Spanish Navy crew and Force Headquarters staff.
The Spanish Ambassador, His Excellency Juan Ignacio Sell Sanz and the European Union Ambassador, His Excellency Antonio Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar were also in attendance.
The President took the salute from the ship’s company on the flight deck and addressed the audience. He then wrote in the ship’s guest of honour book: “I would like to extend my sincere greetings to Galicia’s Commanding Officer and his crew, and congratulate you all for the outstanding work you do to serve your country and for the peace you help to bring in the world’s oceans.
“Operation Atalanta constitutes the commitment of the EU to help in the creation of a secure maritime environment in the Indian Ocean. This helps the development of countries in the region. The port of Diego Suarez is essential for our operations in the Somali Basin, and this is why I want to thank local and national authorities for the support they provide to the naval units during their visits to this port.” stated the Force Commander.
After a group photograph on the flagship’s flight deck, the President and his delegation were given a tour of the Spanish warship, including the bridge, vehicle deck and hospital.
Whilst Operation Atalanta’s key roles are to protect World Food Programme vessels and to deter and disrupt piracy off the coast of Somalia, as part of the EU’s Comprehensive approach to the Horn of Africa, EU Naval Force warships also provides support to other EU missions in the Horn of Africa, such as EUCAP Nestor, to help enhance regional capacities and strengthen maritime security.
ESPS Galicia will remain in port until 15th September, when, after more than four months deployed with Operation Atalanta, she will start her last patrol in the Indian Ocean. She will handover her counter-piracy duties in a ceremony in Djibouti on 6th October 2015.
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