EEAS Deputy Secretary General Pedro Serrano visits EU NAVFOR's Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA)

Jul 05, 2019 - 11:04

Brest, 04 July 2019On Thursday, European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General of Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) and Crisis Response, Mr. Pedro Serrano visited EU NAVFOR Operation ATALANTA's Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA). The visit took place during Mr. Serrano's visit to the Maritime Information Cooperation & Awareness (MICA) Center, hosted by the Chief of the French Navy, Admiral Christophe Prazuck.

Operation ATALANTA Operation Headquarters (OHQ) Chief of Staff Captain Luis Diaz Puente hosted Mr. Serrano's visit to MSCHOA on behalf of Operation Commander Vice Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave. This was the first occasion on which Mr. Serrano has visited the MSCHOA since it was transferred from its previous location in Northwood, UK in March 2019. Mr. Serrano expressed during his visit that he feels confident in the strong inter-operational ability between OHQ in Rota and MSCHOA in Brest, which is facilitated through highly developed communication systems.

Also during his visit to Brest, Mr. Serrano took the opportunity to visit the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade (MDAT-GoG), a Franco-British information-sharing mechanism for commercial vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. This cell works in direct support to the structures of the Yaoundé process.

What is the MSCHOA?

As part of the Operation Department of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA, the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) is fully integrated in the Joint Operation Centre. Located in Brest, the MSCHOA is an initiative established by EU NAVFOR in close co-cooperation with the maritime shipping industry. MSCHOA monitors vessels that transit the high-risk area 24 hours a day, while the provision of an interactive website enables the centre to communicate the latest counter-piracy guidance to the Maritime Industry. EU NAVFOR Somalia assetsand by association, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and independent deployers’ naval assetsmay then be dispatched in the event of a emergency.

Owners and operators who have vessels transiting the region are strongly encouraged to register with MSCHOA, before reaching our vessel registration area to ensure their safety and reduce the risk of attacks or capture. Additionally, EU NAVFOR Somalia fully supports the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP).

Through MSCHOA, EU NAVFOR also conducts a daily risk assessment process leading to identify particularly vulnerable shipping and co-ordinate appropriate protection arrangements.