EU NAVFOR PROTECTION TEAM ENSURING SAFETY OF FOOD AIDJuly 18, 2018 - 14:09
Guarding World Food Programme (WFP) and vulnerable vessels in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden is one of Operation Atalanta’s key tasks. The WFP ship Petra II has an embarked EU NAVFOR Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD) on board to ensure her valuable cargo of food-aid is protected en route to Somalia.
EU NAVFOR is made up of over 20 countries, which routinely provide AVPD’s for potentially exposed ships. A team of troops from the Montenegrin military currently guards Petra II; their presence helps the vital humanitarian aid get to the people of Somalia affected by drought and famine safely. Having the Montenegrin military fully integrated into Operation Atalanta, provides the protection that these ships need against the threat of piracy and strengthen maritime security in the region.
The AVPD provides 24/7 protection and their training and preparation can take up to six months. To maintain their skills whilst on board they conduct exercises and drills which are crucial in securing the safety of WFP ship and those on board. There is a mandatory selection process for the candidates, consisting of medicals, marksmanship, and rigorous physical fitness examinations.
The use of AVPDs to protect WFP shipping is paramount for EU NAVFOR as it allows greater flexibility in the use of the warships in the fight against piracy, whilst guaranteeing the security of WFP shipments.
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