During a port visit by EU Naval Force Flagship HNLMS Johan de Witt to Djibouti, a delegation from the European Union’s capacity building mission, EUCAP Nestor were welcomed on board by Force Commander, Commodore Peter Lenselink.
The visit was an opportunity to further enhance the co-operation between the two European Union missions, which work in and around the Horn of Africa region.
The European Union is committed to working with the Somali Federal Government to help the nation become more secure, stable and prosperous.
EUCAP Nestor works to build maritime capacity, the rule of law, and the judiciary in the Horn of Africa.
The EU Naval Force focuses on fighting piracy at sea and the protection of World Food Programme ships that deliver food and aid to displaced persons in Somalia. EU Naval Force warships also protect the shipping of the African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISON) and contributes to the protection of vulnerable shipping off the Somali coast and the monitoring of fishing activities.
It is widely understood that the problem of piracy can only be overcome by combining political and diplomatic efforts with military and legal action, together with development assistance and strong international co-ordination.
The EU Naval Force is one part of the EU’s “Comprehensive Approach”, which aims to tackle both the symptoms and root causes of piracy.
The training of maritime security and counter piracy capabilities of the regional states in the Horn of Africa is part of both EUCAP Nestor and EU NAVFOR’s missions.
In his welcome address to the EUCAP Nestor staff, Commodore Lenselink said “It is my intention to strengthen the relationship between the EU missions in the region. The HNLMS Johan de Witt has excellent and diverse capabilities to facilitate maritime security training. These training opportunities are very important to enhance the knowledge of those who are engaged with Somali maritime security in the region, which ultimately leads to more stability at sea off the Horn of Africa.”
The EUCAP Nestor Chief of Staff, Carsten Boos complemented: “We look forward to further strengthening the relationship between EUNAVFOR and EUCAP Nestor, and the upcoming training is a big step in this direction. We are very keen to train the Somali coastguard on board a ship like Johan de Witt. It provides many opportunities, not only for the participants, but for the trainers as well.”
During the visit the EUCAP Nestor delegation were also shown the capabilities of the Flagship. HNLMS Johan de Witt is a Landing Platform Dock, 176.5 metres in length and displaces 16,948 tonnes. She can accommodate up to 600 personnel and has many different assets, teams and capabilities on board, such as: an extended sickbay with operating theatre and a medical team. She also has 2 Cougar helicopters and a Landing Craft Task Element. The warship also has a team from Belgium on board who operate a specialized boarding craft known as a Fast Raiding Interception and Special Forces Craft (FRISC) and a Maltese Special Duties Enhanced Boarding Team (MSDEBT), who are trained to execute maritime awareness and security operations and are able to board ships when necessary.