The European Union (EU) and the Government of Somalia met onboard a flagship ESPS Galicia on Monday for talks on strengthening Somalia’s maritime security against pirates.
Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and EU Ambassador to Somalia, Veronique Lorenzo, discussed the role of the EU Naval Forces currently policing Somali waters and recent piracy incidents that have occurred off the coast of Somalia.
Many major naval officials were in attendance at the high-level meeting including EU TM mission CDR, Brig. Gen Maurizio Morena, EUCAP Somalia head of mission Ms. Maria-Cristina Stepanescu, EU Navfor OpCDR, Maj. Gen Robert Magowan and EU Navor FCDR, and Rr. Adm Rafael Fernandez-Pintado
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Veronique Lorenzo said: “we have been a supporter of the security sector in Somalia and maritime safety is a central pillar often overlooked.”
The EU gave Prime Minister Khaire a tour of the naval ship which is used in anti-piracy missions.
He discussed the need for cooperation not only in thwarting piracy but also combating illegal fishing in Somalia and requested training for a Somali marine force that can take over the patrol.
“We have also raised the issue of joint collaboration in order to devise ways to end the illegal fishing in Somali waters by foreign vessels. So, we have agreed to continue discussions on how we can protect the Somali natural resources,” he said.
Major General Robert Magowan, the EU Naval Force Operations Commander, Operation Atalanta said his forces have been active in recent months and reinforced the EU Naval Force commitment to suppress and deter piracy.
“We will continue to deter piracy for as long as we are here. That is something I am very clear about. It is also important for us to continue to reassure our maritime industry, that we will continue to suppress and deter piracy and ensure they deliver best management practices as they move in this region,” he said.
The EU naval force protects Somalia-bound ships, belonging to the UN World Food Programme and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The EU claims it’s forces have overseen the safe delivery of 1.3 million tonnes of humanitarian assistance destined for the Somali people