EU NAVFOR Reaffirms Counter Piracy Cooperation with Oman
On 17 March, during a visit by the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta flagship ESPS Méndez Núnez to Salalah, the Force Commander, Rear Admiral Pedro García de Paredes, met with Omani officials in Salalah.
The EU NAVFOR Force Commander met the Commander of the Royal Navy of Oman’s forces in Salalah, Captain Amor Humaid Al-Zakwani, and the Chief of the Royal Omani Police and Coast Guard in the Dhofar region, Brigadier General Musallam Bin Salem Al Junaibi.
The meetings served to reinforce the importance of co-operation and co-ordination between EU NAVFOR units employed in counter-piracy and the Omani authorities. Both Captain Humaid Al-Zakwani and General Bin Salem Al Junaibi thanked the Force Commander for the important work of EU NAVFOR in contributing to the security and protection of the seas off the Horn of Africa.
The Omani officials welcomed the recent release of the merchant vessels Royal Grace and Smyrni, both of which had been held by pirates since March and May 2012 respectively. However, the meeting did not just focus on the current positive development: all three attendees stressed the importance of maintaining pressure on the pirates, to ensure that the declining trend seen in piracy incidents is not reversed.
Speaking about the visits, Rear Admiral García de Paredes said: “Maintaining strong co-operation between us is paramount if we are to continue to counter the criminal activities of pirates in the region. Two ships and 60 hostages are still being held by pirates in anchorages off the coast of Somalia. EU NAVFOR will remain ever vigilant.”
Naval Today Staff, March 21, 2013; Image: EU NAVFOR