Following the European Council’s decision on 30 July to extent the mandate of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta until 31 December 2020, the European shipowners welcomed the move, noting that the operation has brought a significant decline in piracy numbers in the East African region.
The European Council extended the mandate of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta until 31 December 2020. It also decided to relocate the EU NAVFOR Operational Headquarters from Northwood, UK to Rota, Spain, and to Brest France for the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa MSCHOA as of 29 March 2019.
Charlie Stickland, the Operational Commander Major General of EU NAVFOR, met with Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, on 11 May at IMO Headquarters in London. At the meeting, general Stickland updated the IMO Secretary-General on EU NAVFOR’s counter-piracy Operation Atalanta.
EUNAVFOR informed that the oil tanker that was attacked on March 3, off Hodeidah, Yemen, is the Merchant Tanker “Abqaiq”, a Kingdom of Saudi Arabia flagged vessel. Combined Maritime Forces and EUNAVFOR confirmed that the incident is related to the ongoing conflict in Yemen. The tanker was sailing in international waters off Hodeidah.
EUNAVFOR informed that on 23rd February, the Motor Tanker Leopard Sun was attacked by two skiffs 160 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. The Singapore flagged chemical tanker was heading from Sohar, to Cape Town, South Africa when the incident happened.
The Seychellois Attorney General informed on 18 December, that the six Somali nationals apprehended by the crew of EU NAVFOR flagship ‘ITS Virginio Fasan’ have been charged with ‘committing an act of piracy’ and ‘attempting an act of piracy’ in the Indian Ocean.
Six suspected pirates on a motor whaler, acting as mother ship, and a skiff have been detained following attacks on a 52,000 tonne container ship and a fishing vessel, during a a 24 hour operation by EUNAVFOR, on 17-18 November, in the Southern Somali Basin.
Condemning the acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, the United Nations Security Council called for a comprehensive response to prevent and minimize such acts and tackle their underlying causes.
The complexities of migration, as a humanitarian challenge, were discussed on Monday, 30 October, at a meeting hosted by the IMO, bringing together representatives of UN agencies, the maritime industry and European Union naval forces.
In a recent white paper, OBP explores the model of Vessel Protection Detachments, uniformed military personnel embarked on a vessel with explicit approval of the Flag State. Unlike private security actors, VPD operators are trained to follow strict and defined rules of engagement through traditional military chain of command.
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