FGS Brandenburg, the Flagship of EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta has conducted a port visit to the port of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. The visit coincided with the worldwide Europe Day Celebrations celebrated on the anniversary of the Schuman declaration in 1950.
Several events took place during the visit. On 6 May the German Frigate conducted an official reception for over 200 guests including Tanzanian government officials and representatives of other EU bodies and member states based in Dar Es Salaam. The reception was co-hosted by the EU Delegation to the Republic of Tanzania and the German Embassy in order to underline the existing friendship and cooperation with Tanzania.
The Force Commander of EU Naval Force Rear Admiral Jürgen zur Mühlen, emphasized in his speech at the event that the threat of piracy still exists. Very recently, the boarding team from FGS Brandenburg boarded an Indian dhow which was formerly captured by pirates. The pirates fled from the captured dhow as EU naval forces intervened from the air and sea. “This event confirms that the piracy threat is still very real in the Indian Ocean. The deterrence and swift action by EU Naval Force has once again denied freedom of action to pirates.”
Also during the visit Rear Admiral zur Mühlen visited the Tanzanian Minister of Defence, Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, the Head of the Tanzanian Navy, Brigadier General R.S. Laswai and the Mayor of Ilalla the port area of Dar Es Salaam, Jerry William Silaa. All the officials recognized the important work that EU Naval Force has been doing to combat piracy in the region, “With the presence of EUNAVFOR the threat of piracy has significantly decreased” stated Dr Ali Mwinyi during the meeting. Rear Admiral zur Mühlen reinforced during the meeting how important the relationship between Tanzania and EU Naval Force has been particularly in light of the recent signing of the transfer agreement allowing the transfer of suspect pirates from EU Naval Force Ships to Tanzania for prosecution.
Finally as the port visit of the European Naval Force flagship Brandenburg occurred during the Europe Week 2014 in Tanzania. Rear Admiral zur Mühlen, took this opportunity to promote Operation Atalanta in Dar es Salaam on Europe Day a press conference was hosted by the Representatives of the EU and German Embassy in order to underline the existing friendship and cooperation with Tanzania. More than 40 journalists attended. Rear Admiral Jürgen zur Mühlen provided a comprehensive overview of mandate and the current situation. “Since 2008 there was no successful attack against World Food Programme Vessels and also the protection of other civil shipping in the last two years was ensured by a100% success rate”, Rear Admiral Jürgen zur Mühlen stated. With regard to local maritime capacity building he promoted also the cooperation between EU Naval Force and EUCAP Nestor in conducting maritime capacity building with the Tanzanian forces.
The Deputy Head of the EU Delegation, Mr. Tom Vens, emphasized the recently signed European Union-Tanzania Transfer Agreement which allows to trial pirates, who are captured by European naval forces, in Tanzanian courts.
Later on Rear Admiral Jürgen zur Mühlen participated as special guest at the Europe Day Reception hosted by the Ambassador of the European Union. The garden of the ambassador’s residence offered the opportunity for the 28 member states to represent their different countries. EU Naval Force hosted a table with a video demonstrating the recent activities of EU Naval Force
Press Release, May 12, 2014; Image: EU Navfor