EU NAVFOR ship supports repair of Mogadishu PortAugust 24, 2009 - 15:24
Though the first priority for the European Union Naval Force ships in Operation Atalanta is the protection of World Food Programme (WFP) vessels delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia, they also support infrastructural measures to increase the capability and capacity of Mogadishu Port.
In the morning hours of August 10th a fleet of six small vessels started its journey of roughly 500 nautical miles (approx. 930 kilometers) from Mombasa in Kenya to one of the main destinations for WFP shipments: Mogadishu Port. The EU NAVFOR ship BRANDENBURG accompanied them to ensure their safe arrival.
What made this escort special was the extremely slow speed, of about four knots (approx. seven km per hour), that the two tugs SOLSTAR and SOLAND were able to tow the massive freight in the environment of southwest monsoon, with strong winds and high waves. Without the presence of a warship ready to counter any pirate attack these vessels would have been like sitting ducks under these circumstances. After a transit lasting one week the small fleet was handed over safely to Mogadishu Port Security and was assigned another tug to cope with the strong current off Mogadishu.
Piers in Mogadishu Port urgently need repairs to be used again as berthing space for WFP shipments. So a Japanese sponsor contracted the ALPHA Group in Mombasa to send a large excavator and barges with tons of building material to Mogadishu Port to facilitate the repairs.
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