EU NAVFOR, Kenyan Navy Forge Bilateral Ties
Between 6th and 10th June, the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) flagship NRP Álvares Cabral visited Mombasa, Kenya. During the visit the EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Commodore Jorge Novo Palma, visited several Kenyan authorities to discuss co-operation and knowledge sharing in order to enhance maritime security in the region.
The Force Commander took the opportunity to call on the Deputy Commander of the Kenyan Navy, Brigadier John Waweru, to present the current situation of Operation Atalanta. This meeting strengthened the ties between EU NAVFOR and the Kenyan Navy, a key factor for success in EU NAVFOR’s collaboration strategy with Kenya. The Kenyan Navy is a key partner in the area and its engagement in the fight against piracy is a determining factor to ensure maritime security in the long term.
Next, Commodore Palma was hosted by the Director General of the Kenya Maritime Authority, Mrs. Nancy W. Karigithu. Both parties agreed on several procedures to enhance co-operation, namely the increased exchange of information and increasing seafarers’ awareness of maritime security issues in the area.
Following this visit, the EU NAVFOR Force Commander and Commanding Officer of NRP Álvares Cabral met with the MARSIC project in Mombasa and representatives of the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center (MRCC) Mombasa. MARSIC is a European Union project, launched in 2010 for a 5-years period, focused on capacity building for the 21 signatory countries of the Djibouti Code of Conduct (DCoC) in the field of information sharing and training.
In Mombasa, the EU MARSIC project has built a good relationship with the Kenya Maritime Authority, which hosts the information sharing centre, which also provides strategic advice to the partner countries’ authorities, for setting up a regional cooperation and ensuring the sustainability of the operational centres.
During a meeting with the Kenya Port Authority, the EU NAVFOR Force Commander was briefed on the recently implemented security plan for the Port of Mombasa. He was then given the opportunity to visit the new Port Security Operations Centre, which is planned to become fully operational in the near future. As Mombasa is a key regional hub for maritime trade in the region, the Kenya Port Authority has been supporting EU NAVFOR’s mission through logistic support during port visits.
Whilst in Mombasa, NRP Álvares Cabral was visited by a delegation of the Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping; including the Director of Shipping, Ports and Freight Services Mr Clement William. This visit highlighted the ongoing good relationship that exist between EU NAVFOR and Kenya. Mr William said that ship owners and the maritime community in Kenya are very eager to hear from EU NAVFOR and learn about its achievements.
Talking once back at sea after the visit, the Force Commander said:
“It has been a very important and fruitful port visit, where I had the opportunity to strengthen the co-ordination and co-operation with a regional partner in the maritime security effort. I would also like to acknowledge the warm hospitality and logistic support that was provided to the EU NAVFOR flagship.”
Press Release, June 12, 2013; Image: EUNAVFOR