During a recent port visit in Djibouti, the EU Naval Force flagship, ESPS Victoria conducted Local Maritime Capacity Building (LMCB) with Fishery Protection Officers of the Somali Maritime Law Enforcement agencies. Hosted on board of the ‘Victoria’, the training, focused on on-board operations, included life at sea, ship manoeuvers and capabilities, damage control, as well as briefings and practical demonstrations on how to conduct boarding operations.
LMCB training was conducted in close cooperation and coordination with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes - Global Maritime Crime Programme (UNODC GMCP) and contributes to the EU’s comprehensive approach to counter-piracy off Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa. Within their means and capabilities, ATALANTA units support LMCB by providing training to regional countries aimed to enhance maritime capabilities in Maritime Law Enforcement, Maritime Communications, as well as Engineering and maintenance of seagoing assets.
This support is part of the overarching pilot project from UNODC GMCP to provide the first Somali-led fisheries patrol operation in their EEZ. Since 2021 and as a response to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2551 and 2607, UNODC GMCP commenced a series of specialised fisheries enforcement training activities in coordination with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, The Office of the Attorney General, the Somali Police Force, among others, to enhance the response of Somalia on fisheries crimes. Such initiative led to the EUNAVFOR ATALANTA collaboration to further enhance the expertise of the Somali Fisheries enforcement team, which materialized in the implementation of the training activities in Djibouti during the month of February 2022.
This patrol operation will serve as a deterrent mechanism to counteract illegal fishing in Somalia as well as enable the Somali authorities to effectively enforce their laws, while protecting the natural resources of the country and enhancing coastal and maritime security in the region.
Since 2010, UNODC GMCP, then known as the Counter Piracy Programme, has continuously supported Somalia through the provision of equipment, infrastructure, and mentorship activities to improve the capabilities and capacity of the criminal justice system to carry out effective prevention and prosecution of maritime crimes within a sound rule of law framework. It is important to highlight that the programme played a central role in the establishment of a regional 'piracy prosecution model' and other regional mechanisms to enhance security in the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean Region.
Building and developing regional maritime capability is one of EU NAVFOR’s key objectives; by sharing our expertise, we promote lasting regional maritime solutions, which will help to deter and prevent acts of piracy and contribute to maritime security throughout the region. By working side-by-side with UNODC, as two international bodies, we can unite our resources to maximise our efforts and make the waters of the Gulf of Aden and the West Indian Ocean safer.