Image from the EU NAVFOR anti-piracy joint exercise with Atalanta Warship ITS Carabiniere and French Warship FS Floreal. Image courtesy of EU NAVFOR.
EU NAVFOR recently brought together EU and regional partners to focus on counter piracy and maritime security in efforts to build a more secure maritime environment.
A forum was held by the organization on their flagship vessel, the ITS Carlo Margottini, after it made an operational stop in the port of Mombasa, Kenya after a period of counter-piracy patrolling along the coast of Somalia.
During the forum, EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Simone Malvagna, commented: “More security and awareness of the maritime situation throughout the region is essential to overcome the barriers of illegality and being able to use the precious resources of the Blue Economy.
“In November this year we will see an International Conference on the Blue Economy here in Kenya.”
Rear Admiral Simone Malvagna speaking at the EU NAVFOR's Maritime Security forum
The results of two of the organization’s operations, Operation Atalanta and the EU Critical Maritime Route Indian Ocean Project (EU CRIMARIO), were presented at the forum to an audience of government officials — including EU Deputy Ambassador Mr. Bruno Pozzi of the EU Delegation in Kenya, the Italian Deputy Ambassador Dr. Angela Loi, and members of Defence and Foreign Relations Committee of the Kenyan Parliament.
EU CRIMARIO aims to strengthen maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean region by supporting coastal countries through a web-based information sharing tool, the Indian Ocean Regional Information Sharing and Incident Management (OIRISIM) network — enabling collaboration between regional partners to increase maritime situational awareness.
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During the visit to the port of Mombasa the ITS Carlo Margottini carried out a range of humanitarian initiatives to support the civilian population, donating food and medicine to local health and welfare infrastructure.
The Margottini also provided aid to the ‘Mahali Pa Usalama’ Rescue Centre, an infant rehabilitation centre for victims of sexual violence.
At the end of the visit the Margottini set sail to continue her focus on freedom of navigation to international merchant vessels and the deterrence of piracy in the Indian Ocean region.
Piracy has been increasingly in the maritime industry’s focus in recent years, as reports of piracy incidents continue to rise.
According to the annual State of Piracy report released by One Earth Future (OEF)’s Oceans Beyond Piracy, the number of piracy incidents off the coast of East Africa double in 2017 compared to 2016.
The report stated that there were 54 cases of reported piracy in the East Africa region, with 306 seafarers being experiencing a boarding or failed attack from pirates.
In West Africa the total number incidents hit 97 in 2017, with 317 seafarers exposed to kidnapping incidents, and 880 seafarers experience a boarding or failed attack.