EU Naval Force Flagship FS Siroco Visits Mayotte On The Day The Islands Became Part Of The European UnionJanuary 8, 2014 - 13:14
On Wednesday 1 January, the European Union Naval Force flagship, FS Siroco, conducted a port visit to Mayotte in the Indian Ocean.
The date of the visit was highly significant for the islanders and the French warship, as on New Year’s day this year Mayotte became ‘an outermost region’ of the European Union.
Uniquely, Mayotte is the only part of the European Union located inside Operation ATALANTA’s area of operations (AOO).
In March 2011, following the result of a referendum, Mayotte became an ‘overseas administrative department of France’. Previously, the archipelago had held the status of ‘overseas territory of France’.
Speaking during the visit, the EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean stated ‘I am delighted to be visiting Mayotte on this very significant day. It reminds us all of how the European Union is truly committed to combating the threat of piracy and Mayotte is a key partner in this.’
FS Siroco’s port visit in Mayotte was also the opportunity for the French Landing Craft Unit (LCU) to complete a handover in the naval base, which is located in Dzaoudzi and for joint maritime surveillance operations to be carried out with the local maritime forces. This surveillance included giving Search and Rescue (SAR) assistance to locate two local sailors in distress.
During the visit, the French warship was opened to the local population, including the family of a FS Siroco crew member, whose family lives on the islands.
Last, but not least, Siroco’s crew members took the opportunity to establish proxy forms with the ‘Gendarmerie Maritime’ and submit their votes for municipal elections in France in March 2014.
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