Madagascar Welcomes Spanish Warship ESPS GaliciaSeptember 12, 2015 - 17:06
On Wednesday 9 September the Republic of Madagascar welcomed the EU Naval Force Spanish flagship, ESPS Galicia and her crew in to the port of Diego Suarez. Since this is the first time that the Spanish warship has visited Madagascar, the Spanish Ambassador to Madagascar, His Excellency Juan Ignacio Sell Sanz, Force Commander, Rear Admiral Alfonso Gómez Fernández de Córdoba and ESPS Galicia’s Commanding Officer, Captain Rafael Fernández-Pintado Muñoz-Rojas, took the opportunity to invite government and military representatives on board.
After being welcomed on board, the Spanish Ambassador to Madagascar and the military and civilian authorities were given a briefing on the EU Naval Force, Operation Atalanta, including its important role protecting World Food Programme (WFP) vessels from pirate attack as they transit the Somali coast to deliver aid to displaced persons in Somalia. The visitors were also given a guided tour of the warship.
Afterwards, they had lunch on the officers’ Wardroom. During the lunch, the Force Commander addressed the guests: “We are really glad to be here in Diego Suarez. Thank you for such a warm welcome to your country. We all share similar experiences and challenges in the maritime environment. Cooperating together will help to strengthen security in the Indian Ocean.”
On 10 September, the EU Naval Force flagship conducted Local Maritime Capacity Building (LMCB) training with personnel from the Madagascan Navy.
Crew members from ESPS Galicia’s Boarding Party explained the processes for conducting friendly approaches with local seafarers and opposed boardings against suspected pirates. The maintenance procedures carried out on the ship’s small boats and the outboard motors were also briefed, followed by a tour in the engines rooms.
The training team received positive feedback from their Madagascan guests, with a range of questions being asked.
Once again, the EU comprehensive approach proved highly effective and served to enhance the mutual trust and understanding between the maritime forces.
A visit by the President of Madagascar is expected during the port visit. Visits such as this help to strengthen relations between the European Union and countries in the Indian Ocean region.
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