Djiboutian Somali linguists and cultural advisors on board EU NAVFOR warshipsOctober 25, 2010 - 14:00
On 22th October, the Commanding Officer of the EU NAVFOR Belgium frigate BNS LOUISE-MARIE awarded a Belgium national Commemorative Medal For Foreign Missions to Lieutenant Junior Grade Moussa-Barkat-Abdallah, from the Djiboutian Navy.
This award illustrates the strong co-operation existing between EU NAVFOR and the Republic of Djibouti’s Navy, since an agreement enables to embark Djiboutian sailors on board EU NAVFOR ships as Somali linguists and cultural advisors.
The presence of Arabic-speaking Djiboutian Navy Officers onboard EU NAVFOR ships is always useful, as many masters and crew at sea are unable to speak English. These Officers’ skills in Arabic make it possible for EU NAVFOR to deliver clear information and explanations, thus improving the dissemination of Best Management Practices and developing security awareness to the seafarers sailing in the area. It also facilitates the collection of information during friendly approaches to fishing vessels. Lastly, the presence of an Arabic-speaking person is of utmost importance while conducting a disruption operation and dealing with suspected pirates.
In addition to the language asset, Djiboutian Navy Officers, working in collaboration with EU NAVFOR, also deliver cultural advises on board EU NAVFOR warships and during port visits. They enable the naval force to develop mutual understanding and knowledge with the local fishing and merchant community.
During BNS LOUISE-MARIE’S tour of operational service in EU NAVFOR in 2009, Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Moussa-Barkat-Abdallah facilitated communications with fishermen, suspected pirates, and other local seafarers. LTJG Moussa-Barkat-Abdallah presence was also proved invaluable during the rescue of 38 shipwrecked refugees in the Gulf of Aden.
Upon return from a mission, the majority of Belgium crewmembers are awarded a commemorative medal for their contribution to an operation. Since LTJG Moussa-Barkat-Abdallah had served alongside EU NAVFOR service persons on operations on board BNS LOUISE-MARIE, it was completely fitting that he be awarded the Belgian Commemorative Medal For Foreign Missions.
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