On Wednesday 6th December 2017, EU NAVFOR’s Operation Commander, Major General Charlie Stickland congratulated Force Commander Rear Admiral Fabio Gregori on the completion of another Italian led mission.
Just over 4 months ago, Rear Admiral Gregori took Command of the Warships, Maritime Patrol Aircraft and security teams onboard on World Food Programme ships all the while embarked on EU NAVFOR’s Italian flagship, ITS Virginio Fasan.
In that time the Admiral has overseen Focussed Operations, Leadership Engagements with key Somali and regional dignitaries, the building of maritime security capacity across the region and situating EU NAVFOR assets off the coast of Mogadishu to assist in an Emergency medical response following the recent bombings.
This was the first time ITS Fasan had deployed with Operation Atalanta. During their counter-piracy patrols the crew took the opportunity to meet Somali fishermen and local dignitaries to explain EU NAVFOR’s mission to protect World Food Programme ships, deter acts of piracy and monitor fishing activity.
The crew also worked as part of the EU Comprehensive Approach with the EU Training Mission and EUCAP Somalia.
In November, ITS Fasan responded to an emergency call from a merchant ship, MV Ever Dynamic, after the vessel was attacked by a number of armed men in a fast-moving skiff.
The armed men were tracked over night and embarked Italian Marines boarded the skiff the following morning. The suspected pirates were then held under UNSCR 2383 and transferred to the Seychelles for continuation of the judicial process.
At today’s handover ceremony Rear Admiral Fabio Gregori expressed his appreciation and thanks to the men and women deployed with EU NAVFOR saying:
“Under this 26th rotation we have had much success thanks to hard work of the sailors and marines of EU NAVFOR” and he added: “I would personally like to thank the men and women of all the warships, aircraft and security teams of this Task Force who have generated the successes we have seen”. Following this the Operational Commander, Major General Charlie Stickland then thanked Rear Admiral Gregori for “the agility and flexibility of his team and being able to deliver a consistent, proactive and optimised operations during this rotation.”
EU NAVFOR’s mission to protect vulnerable shipping from the threat of piracy continues and since taking over command, the Admiral has personally overseen the delivery of just over 109,000 tonnes of food aid to the people of Somalia.
Singapore-flagged tanker attacked off Somalia but escapes
AP — Mogadishu – An international anti-piracy force says a Singapore-flagged chemical tanker has exchanged fire with attackers off the coast of Somalia before escaping unharmed.
The European Union anti-piracy force says in a statement that the MT Leopard Sun was attacked by two skiffs early on Friday about 160 nautical miles off central Somalia. A private security team on the tanker fired warning shots and the skiffs turned away about 20 minutes later.
The Horn of Africa nation saw a brief resurgence of pirate attacks a year ago.
The EU statement says Friday’s attack is “likely to be piracy related” and is the first such attack since November.
The statement says the chemical tanker had been en route from Oman to Cape Town, South Africa.
Can Somalia’s fishing industry keep pirates out of business?
Rising piracy on Indian Ocean spells high insurance charges
Daily Nation — Cases of piracy in Indian Ocean off Somalia coast increased in 2017, raising fears that sustained attacks could raise insurance and freight costs for Kenya importers.
Nine piracy attacks were recorded off Somalia in 2017, up from two in 2016, a new report shows, as global attacks dropped to a 22-year low.
“The dramatic incident, alongside our 2017 figures, demonstrates that Somali pirates retain the capability and intent to launch attacks against merchant vessels hundreds of miles from their coastline,” Mr Pottengal Mukundan, International Maritime Bureau (IMB), director said in a statement.
The increase in such attacks usually comes with costs such as increased insurance premiums, longer freight routes as vessels avoid hot spots and additional cost of hiring private armed guards.
For country that imports more than Sh1.3 trillion worth of consumer and industrial goods, the increased cost is eventually passed to the consumer through higher retail prices.
In their heyday six years ago, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia in 2011, the IMB says, and held hundreds of hostages.
That year, Ocean’s Beyond Piracy estimated the global cost of piracy was about $7 billion.
The shipping industry bore roughly 80 per cent of those costs, the group’s analysis showed.
But attacks fell sharply after ship owners tightened security and avoided the Somali coast.
Intervention by regional naval forces that flooded into the area helped disrupt several hijack bids and improved security for the strategic trade route that leads through the Suez Canal and links the oilfields of the Middle East with European ports.
The IMB data shows a total of 180 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships took place globally, the lowest level of sea-based crimes to be recorded since 1995, when 188 reports were received.