During his visit to Djibouti this week, the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Major General Martin Smith MBE, took the opportunity to visit the EU Naval Force flagship, ITS Andrea Doria, at sea in the Gulf of Aden.
He was accompanied during the visit by the European Union Ambassador in Djibouti, Joseph Silva.
Major General Smith was flown to ITS Andrea Doria by the Italian warship’s EH101 helicopter and was welcomed on board by the EU Force Commander, Rear Admiral Guido Rando.
The Operation Commander was given an up-to-date brief on the current piracy situation at sea by the Force HQ’s Chief of Staff, Captain Ulrich Brosowsky (German Navy). The meeting was an ideal opportunity to enhance the good cohesion that exists between the Force HQ at sea and the Operational HQ based in Northwood, UK.
The Force Command team gave an overview of counter-piracy operations since the handover from the German EU Naval Force flagship, FGS Brandenburg in August, and emphasised the significant and encouraging decrease in pirate activity in the last two years due to the constant military presence in the piracy high risk area.
On completion of the brief Major General Smith spoke to the Force HQ staff and ITS Andrea Doria’s ship’s company and congratulated them on their hard work and progress since the start of their deployment to the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.
The Operation Commander was given a tour of the Italian Navy destroyer, with the focus being on ITS Andrea Doria’s state of the art command and control and radar systems that enable the warship to detect, amongst other things, small vessels at sea that are commonly used by Somali pirates to attack merchant ships.
At the end of his visit, the Operation Commander was flown back to Djibouti by the EH 101 helicopter.