On 7 September 2017, EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta’s Force Commander, Rear Admiral Fabio Gregori, visited Mogadishu to meet international partners from the United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM), the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and military partners including the US.
Admiral Gregori held an exchange of views with each host on the ongoing international efforts to support the Somali Federal Government in enhancing the security situation ashore and on the developments regarding the maritime domain. In addition, Admiral Gregori met with representatives from European Union Member States to provide an update on the situation at sea.
This engagement with EU NAVFOR’s international partners in Mogadishu follows the visits of the Operation Commander, General Rob Magowan, earlier this year. The Operation Commander discussed the situation at sea with the Somali President, H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed in March 2017 and with the Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khayre, on board the then flagship ESPS Galicia in May 2017.
In order to align its various programmes, the EU applies a comprehensive approach to its support to Somalia, based on active diplomacy and support to the political process, security sector reform, development assistance and humanitarian aid.
Part of this comprehensive approach is the close collaboration between EUCAP Somalia, EUTM-Somalia and EU NAVFOR. The EU NAVFOR Force Commander used his presence in Mogadishu to meet leaders of both missions to identify synergies and possible joint activities.
EUCAP Somalia and EU NAVFOR work side by side, complementing each other’s activities by training Somali officers at sea, for example teaching them vital boat-handling, boarding, search and rescue procedures, and enhancing their forensic evidence collection skills. Consequently, the presence of EU NAVFOR units was used to train members of the Somali Maritime Police Unit.
On completion of the training the Force Commander used the opportunity to welcome representatives from the EU delegation to Somalia, EUCAP Somalia and from EU Training Mission on board the EU NAVFOR flagship ITS Fasan to conclude a successful visit to Mogadishu. The Force Commander invited his guests for a tour of ITS Fasan where sailors and marines from the ship demonstrated EU NAVFOR capabilities available at sea to deter and disrupt piracy.
Operation Atalanta’s Force Headquarters is based on board the EU Naval Force flagship, ITS Virginio Fasan, which is currently deployed in the Indian Ocean as part of the European Union’s mission to deter piracy off the coast of Somalia and ensure freedom of navigation for seafarers and their vessels.