EU NAVFOR protecting World Food Programme shipments to SomaliaJune 20, 2018 - 15:48
Two-thirds of all refugees come from just five countries – Somalia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria. EU NAVFOR joins the United Nations Refugee Agency in recognising World Refugee Day, to commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees.
Since the start of Operation Atalanta in 2008, EU NAVFOR has protected over 1.7 million tonnes of World Food Programme (WFP) aid shipments that has supported Somalia. Protecting vulnerable vessels in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden is one of our key mandated tasks.
EU NAVFOR warships ensure the safe delivery of food aid to Somalia and other countries in the Western Indian Ocean, by protecting WFP vessels as they transit through high threat areas around the Horn of Africa and the Somali Basin. We work in partnership with Combined Maritime Forces and other regional maritime security agencies to protect vulnerable vessels from the dangers of piracy and armed robbery at sea.
EU NAVFOR also embarks Military Armed Security Teams, known as Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachments (AVPD), onto WFP vessels to act as a deterrent to would-be pirates. Lithuania, Finland, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and the Netherlands have provided soldiers for the AVPDs in the past, showing their commitment to the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy.
As a counter-piracy operation, Atalanta is mandated not only to provide protection to vessels, but to also deter and disrupt piracy in the seas off the Somali coast. AVPDs provide the Force Commander with greater flexibility when tasking his assets as a warship is not required to directly ensure WFP vessel safety and can therefore focus on another geographical area or task, ensuring maritime security is best maintained.
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