The Royal Netherlands Navy frigate and current flagship of the EU mission off the Horn of Africa, became the first operation Atalanta warship to dock in either Somalia or Somaliland as the ship came alongside Berbera Port on Sunday, December 4.
Onboard were EUCAP Nestor’s head of operations, Chris Reynolds, EUNAVFOR force commander, Commodore Rene Luyckx and representatives from UNSOM’s rule of law and security institutions group who all attended the Joint maritime security seminar (JMSS).
The JMSS, which was chaired by Somaliland’s state minister for security at the ministry of interior, Mohamed Muse Dirie, was an opportunity to highlight the importance of international cooperation and collective effort to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf of Aden, with a focus on the need for effective training, resources and infrastructure, backed up by a sound legislative maritime framework.
During the day approximately 50 delegates discussed Somaliland’s maritime activities and future planning, with a focus on capacity building and legislative support.
Admiral Abdi Hersi from the Somaliland Coast Guard also gave a briefing on their recent activities and the challenges they face, particularly with regards to resources and training. Other Somaliland dignitaries included the Minister of Justice, the Chief Justice, Attorney-General, Immigration Commissioner, the Regional Governor, Berbera’s Mayor and members of the international community.
This was the first time that an Operation Atalanta warship has berthed alongside Berbera. It was also the first time any warship docked there since 1986.
“The seminar is a sign of the progress being made to strengthen maritime security of the Somali coast. While Operation Atalanta was recently extended for two years, we will continue to work with local actors, like the Somaliland Coast Guard, to help fully restore their ownership of maritime security.” Commodore Luyckx commented.