Estonia becomes the 26th nation to contribute to EUNAVFOR – Operation ATALANTADecember 6, 2010 - 14:45
Since 24 November, Estonia has contributed to the fight against piracy off the Somalia coast with the provision of a Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD).
This VPD, which will initially be operating onboard the EUNAVFOR German warship FGS HAMBURG, is Estonia’s first contribution to EUNAVFOR. Estonia recently signed aTechnical Arrangement with Germany agreeing to provide VPD support to the warship in the context of Operation ATALANTA.
Lieutenant-Commander Rait L., leader of the Estonian VPD, said: “It is a great opportunity for us to be onboard the EUNAVFOR ship FGS HAMBURG. As Estonia wants to be part of the EU Operation ATALANTA, this is a perfect way for us to contribute significant support. My men and I went through several weeks of pre deployment training during which we undertook fast roping, sea survival, weapon drills and rules of engagement (ROE) handling. The integration on board went very well, and we are already feeling part of HAMBURG’s crew. We are proud and very motivated to serve the objectives of EUNAVFOR. We are looking forward to protecting a WFP or AMISOM-chartered vessel.”
Asked about his new VPD team, Commander Frank Schwarzhuber, Commanding Officer of FGS HAMBURG, emphasises: “A VPD is an essential element to fulfil our mission. Having an Estonian VPD on board of my ship shows clearly the determination of Europe standing together to counter the threat of piracy. Furthermore it is a demonstration of how good Europe’s navies can cooperate together.”
Since its inception in December 2008, EUNAVFOR Operation has been supported by 26 different nations, including Estonia, and among which four are non EU Member States (Norway, Croatia, Montenegro and Ukraine).
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