Serbia Passes Operation Atalanta’s Protection of World Food Programme Vessel to Croatian Forces After Keeping Humanitarian Aid Ship Safe from Potential Somali Pirate Attack for Over Three MonthsNovember 9, 2016 - 11:50
On Saturday 5 November 2016, Operation Atalanta’s Serbian maritime protection team, embarked on the World Food Programme vessel MSM Douro for the past three months, handed over this important duty to a team from Croatia during a ceremony in Djibouti.
The highly trained Serbian maritime protection team has spent the last 97 days at sea on board MSM Douro. The vessel, which is chartered to carry humanitarian aid for displaced people in Somalia, has to sail close to the Somali coast in order to deliver its aid cargo to Somali ports.
During their time on board, the Serbian team conducted seven aid voyages, and protected over 7,233 metric tonnes of food and other humanitarian aid.
As a counter-piracy operation, EU Naval Force warships are mandated to provide close protection to WFP vessels and to deter and disrupt piracy in the seas off the Somali coast. Having an autonomous maritime protection team in his force provides the Force Commander with greater flexibility. When tasking his assets he can deploy a warship to a sea area deemed to have a piracy risk, whilst at the same time be reassured that the WFP vessel will remain safe from attack.
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