FGS Niedersachsen Fosters Relations with Regional Seafarers
To deter and disrupt piracy off the Horn of Africa is one of the main tasks of the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta.
To help strengthen mutual understanding and trust between the EU Naval Force and local seafarers, as well as obtain first hand information about possible piracy incidents in the area, EU Naval Force ships will sometimes make ‘friendly approaches’ to fishing and cargo dhows and speak to the masters and crew.
These friendly approaches become more significant when the South West monsoon comes to an end, as the improving weather not only enables local and regional fishermen to get out to sea. Pirates have also taken advantage of the calm sea conditions to get out to sea to attack merchant ships.
German frigate FGS Niedersachsen, which is currently deployed with the EU Naval Force, recently carried out a friendly approach on a fishing dhow. With the help of a Somali linguist, the Boarding Team from FGS Niedersachsen was able to approach and speak to the master of the dhow about the EU Naval Force and ask him about any concerns he may have about possible pirate activity.
Speaking after the latest friendly approach by FGS Niedersachsen, the leader of the Boarding Team, Petty Officer Enrico L said “Every trip is a journey into the unknown, but we are ready for anything and always keep our eyes open.”
Press Release, September 25, 2013; Image: EU NAVFOR