Protecting World Food Programme (WFP) shipments to Somalia is a core task for EU Naval Force Somalia; ensuring the safe transportation of humanitarian aid to the Somali people. In 2013, WFP aims to bring humanitarian assistance to an estimated population of 1.56 million in Somalia.
Since the beginning of Operation Atalanta in 2008, EU Naval Force has escorted 171 WFP shipments to Somalia, ensuring the safe delivery of more than 800,000 tons of aid, with a 100% success rate for protection.
EUNAVFOR warships provide close escort to merchant vessels carrying WFP cargo to the regional distribution centres in East Africa, while transiting in the High Risk Area. FGS Augsburg and ESPS Rayo have both escorted WFP shipments in the last few weeks. The success of this kind of operation is also ensured through excellent co-operation with the chartered merchant vessels and their adherence to Best Manage Practices.
On board WFP chartered vessel, MV Caroline Scan, EUNAVFOR has the Finnish Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD). An AVPD offers a different way of providing close protection to WFP shipments; relying on a team composed of highly trained and equipped military personnel, responsible for providing permanent security to the ship, cargo and crew of the WFP chartered vessel. They work closely with the MV Caroline Scan’s crew, maintain a high state of readiness 24/7, and uphold high operational standards throughout the several different activities performed by the merchant vessel. The commander of the Finnish AVPD said,
“We work as one cohesive team with the Master and crew of MV Caroline Scan. We have built a friendly relationship, building on that created from early 2012 by other detachments. We have excellent working conditions and support each others in our tasks.”
Naval Today Staff, May 1, 2013; Image: EU NAVFOR