Estonian Vessel Protection Detachment Operating on French Vessel
Some contributing nations support the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta with specialised assets to counter piracy off the Horn of Africa.
Estonia supports Operation Atalanta with a Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) on board the French frigate FS Courbet. VPDs are ready to embark on civilian ships in order to protect them whilst sailing in the High Risk Area.
From 2 February 2013, soldiers from different branches of the Estonian Armed Forces, are deployed on board the FS Courbet, following an intensive 4 months of training in their home country. This training was followed by specialised exercises together with the French crew on board the FS Courbet to perfect the VPD’s procedures for protecting a vessel from pirate attacks.
On 20 February, FS Courbet was tasked to protect a World Food Program (WFP) vessel heading to Dar es Salam. Embarking the Estonian VPD onto the WFP ship on 23 February to provide close protection and deterrence from pirates, allowed FS Courbet to conduct counter-piracy patrols covering a larger area.
After several days on the civilian ship, the Estonian VPD returned to the FS Courbet and continue to travel with the French sailors, ready to be sent again onto a vulnerable vessel. International co-operation is an integral and important enabler for the success of Operation Atalanta.
Naval Today Staff, March 22, 2013; Image: EU Navfor