During a recent port visit to Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman, Operation ATALANTA Force Commander, Rear Admiral Cuerda visited the Maritime Security Center (MSC) at Al Murtafaa Garrison. He was received by Commodore Mohammed Hamoud Al Zedjali, Head of the MSC. The initial tour of the centre’s facilities was followed by a presentation on the roles and tasks of MSC and discussions on how to enhance collaboration between EU NAVFOR Somalia and the Omani Navy and Coast Guard in order to provide better maritime monitoring and security, thus contributing to a wider maritime awareness in the Indian Ocean.
Rear Admiral Cuerda also hosted a reception on ATALANTA flagship ESPS Victoria with H.E. Huidobro, Spanish Ambassador to Oman in Muscat with a large presence of members of the diplomatic corps accredited in Oman, as well as the Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman and the Director General of the Royal Omani Police Coast Guard to foster mutual relations and showcase the excellent relations between the EU, through Atalanta, and the Sultanate. During his speech, Admiral Cuerda reaffirmed the commitment of the EU NAVFOR to support regional nations to establish a maritime security environment and increase the existing level of cooperation.
This port call comes after the visit of an Omani delegation to Operation Headquarters in Rota, last 6th September, headed by Commodore Mohamed Hamoud Al Zadjali, along with members from the Omani Armed Forces, Military, Coast Guard and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Sultanate of Oman has been a vital partner of the Operation since its inception and a key actor in the international response to piracy off the coast of Somalia. Oman has provided logistical support to the Operation since it started out in 2009 and has continued to do so, even during the many internationally imposed restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Omani ports of Muscat, Duqm and Salalah have remained the most frequently used by EU NAVFOR vessels.