During a recent port visit to Mombasa the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta flagship NRP Álvares Cabral hosted representatives from the World Food Programme (WFP). The port visit in Kenya coincided with a re-supply visit from the WFP Ship MV Caroline Scan which allowed the second team of Finnish Marines to assume duties as the ships Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD) and marked the halfway point in the Finnish deployment, committed to the on-board protection of Caroline Scan.
The protection of World Food Program chartered vessels delivering aid to Somalia is a core task for the EU Naval Force, achieved through a sound co-ordination between the Operation Headquarters (OHQ) in Northwood, the Force Headquarters (FHQ) at sea and the WFP Office in Kenya. Since start of mission, the EU Naval Force has protected 172 WFP vessels, in a permanent effort of assigning escorts throughout the large area of operations, meeting WFP shipments requirements.
WFP Logistics and Shipping Officer (Kenya) Ifigenia Metaxa said during her visit,“I would firstly like to thank the FHQ and Álvares Cabral for their hospitality and informative briefing. Without the constant commitment of the EU Naval Force to the escorting of WFP ships we could not achieve what we have and do. Before this commitment we received escorts on an ad hoc basis with no consistency which limited how much food could be transported. This commitment by EU NAVFOR means we can continue to supply food to millions of people in Somalia who so desperately need it.”
EU Naval Force units have protected World Food Programme ships constantly since December 2008 and have allowed over 800,000 tonnes of food to be delivered to Somalia to people who so desperately need it.
Press Release, June 12, 2013; Image: EUNAVFOR