The United Kingdom’s Minister for The Armed Forces visits EU NAVFOR Headquarters in NorthwoodMarch 19, 2009 - 16:20
On Wednesday, the British Op Atalanta Commander Rear Admiral Phillip Jones welcomed the UK Minister for The Armed Forces, The Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth MP, to the EU NAVFOR operations headquarters in Northwood.
During his visit, the Minister was given a comprehensive operational update and guided tour of the headquarters, where he thanked for their efforts the multinational staff drawn from seven EU Member States. On completing his visit, the Minister said:
“I’m impressed by the efforts made by Admiral Jones and his EU-led Naval Force to protect World Food Program shipping off the Somali coast. Having visited the region myself last month, I know that Operation Atalanta is working well with the Combined Maritime Force and other international partners to make a significant contribution to tackling the problem of piracy.”
This week has seen concerted activity to combat piracy off the Somali coast. EU NAVFOR vessels have been amongst over twenty international warships patrolling the waters, and Spanish Maritime Patrol Aircraft, attached to EU NAVFOR, have flown reconnaissance missions to help protect merchant shipping in the Indian Ocean and to support the seasonal tuna fishing fleets who have recently entered the same area. Whilst the threat of hijackings remains high, this activity together with Kenya’s commitment to prosecute and imprison those found guilty of piracy, sends a clear message to both the pirates and merchant ship owners of how seriously the international community is taking this illegal activity.
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