After two and a half years protecting the World Food Programme (WFP) ship, MV Caroline Scan, from pirate attack off the coast of Somalia, the EU Naval Force has bid the vessel and her hard-working crew a fond farewell.
In April 2014, MV Caroline Scan will be entering a period of maintenance, so the WFP deliveries to the Somali people will temporarily be conducted using other voyage chartered vessels.
Before 2012, all WFP ships carrying aid to Somalia were escorted within the piracy high risk area by EU Naval Force warships. Since January 2012, small military teams, known as ‘Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachments (AVPD), provided by the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Lithuania and Serbia have embarked Caroline Scan to ensure she remained safe from pirate attack.
When the Serbian AVPD disembarked Caroline Scan in March at the port of Djibouti and returned to Serbia, the vessel was given a final escort along the Somali coast by EU Naval Force frigates FGS Hessen (Djibouti to Bosaso), and HS Psara (Bosaso to Mogadishu).
Thanks to the close cooperation between NATO and the EU Naval Force, the NATO frigate, ITS Mimbelli then anchored in the vicinity of Mogadishu, to provide support to Caroline Scan as she waited to berth in the Somali port.
MV Caroline Scan has now sailed safely out of the piracy high risk area.
Speaking about the Caroline Scan’s contribution, the Force Commander of the EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean stated:”The cooperation between the EU Naval Force and World Food Programme has been second to none. As a result, not one WFP ship has been attacked by pirates since the beginning of EU protection duties in 2011. Combined with WFP’s introduction of time chartered vessel operations, the system has served both WFP and EU Naval Force well, by providing the operational flexibility needed in WFP’s programme and by maximizing the use of naval assets for EU Naval Force. We look forward to continuing this fruitful cooperation within the win-win framework of time-chartered vessels and AVPD teams.”
Press Release, March 31, 2014; Image: EU Navfor