A recent Operation Atalanta medal parade held in Djibouti marked the end of the Serbian Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachments (AVPD) tenure with the EU Naval Force.
The Operation Atalanta medal parade was conducted by the Officer in Charge of the Djibouti Support Element Atalanta (SEA) Commander Jean-Michel Tafani French Navy.
The Serbian AVPD has been successfully protecting the WFP ship since the beginning of December 2013 when the team took over the duty from a detachment from Lithuania. The team was accommodated onboard the ship throughout the period and regularly conducted training serials to ensure they were kept at a high state of readiness if any pirate attack was made on the ship and its vital humanitarian aid cargo.
Commenting on the medal parade, Commander Tafani stated:
“By protecting this WFP ship, the Serbian protection team ensured that MV Caroline Scan remained safe from pirate attack. On numerous occasions their prompt and measured response prevented numerous dhows from getting too close, thus deterring possible attacks. Despite living in the most austere conditions and providing 24 hour cover, they remained positive and determined to succeed in their mission and showed the highest standards of professionalism that the Serbia Forces should be proud of.” Since the European Union Naval Force began providing protection to WFP ships, none have been attacked by pirates and over 880,000 metric tonnes of WFP food has been safely delivered to Somalia.
Press Release, March 6, 2014, 2014; Image: EU Navfor