EU NAVFOR’s Deputy Commander praises the commitment of Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Soldiers serving in Djibouti.December 6, 2018 - 11:44
At the start of December, EU NAVFOR’s Deputy Operation Commander Rear Admiral Giuseppe Rapese (Italian Navy), met with the deployed personnel in Djibouti underlining the commitment the operational command has to its people.
Personnel from seven different nations based at the forward logistics hub in Djibouti, including French, Spanish, British, German, Italian, Croatian and Serbian all working as part of EU NAVFOR counter-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia. The German and Spanish aircrews operate and maintain Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft capability that has had a constant presence since Operation Atalanta began on 8th Dec 2008. Croatia has recently handed over responsibility to Serbian military personnel, they embarked on World Food Programme (WFP) vessels providing armed protection in the event of a piracy or armed attack.
Bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti provides an ideal logistical hub for deployed EU NAVFOR assets. EU NAVFOR warships call on the port in Djibouti on a regular basis to resupply and refuel so they can maintain their vital presence off the coast of Somalia. The Spanish warship ESPS Relampago recently joined Operation Atalanta and for the next 4 months will continue the EU’s counter-piracy effort off the coast of Somalia.
Addressing the men and women of EU NAVFOR, Admiral Rapese said: “I am deeply honoured and grateful to see you all here. Your presence here is a clear sign of your nations attention towards this operation. It was nearly 10 years ago that the EU launched Operation Atalanta to support the continued free flow of commerce and to keep seafarers safe from piracy” he added: “Today, although pirate attacks may still occur, you are helping tremendously in making the seas safer for all and I deeply thank you for this.”
Since the beginning of the Operation in 2008, EU NAVFOR and its counter-piracy partners have been highly effective in reducing pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa. EU NAVFOR has detained and transferred 166 suspected pirates, the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa continues to register over 4500 ships per month transiting the area assessing vulnerability and advising on protective measures, over 16,000 hours of MPRA flights have occurred and nearly 1.8 million tonnes of WFP aid has been safely delivered to Somalia.
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