Brazilian Naval Officer on Counter Piracy Operations with Royal Navy
Tracking pirates on the Indian Ocean is not where you would typically find a Brazilian Navy officer. However, it is there Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Laerte Fernandes de Santana is currently deployed for four months working with the Royal Navy.
Following short notice he joined Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort Victoria in September as part of the UK led Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 which focuses on counter piracy operations.
Lt Cdr Fernandes de Santana, from Rio de Janeiro, has formerly served as the Executive Officer of a River Class Patrol Boat and more recently as Chief Engineer on the Brazilian Frigate Niteroi.
His background in engineering and logistics planning is now of substantial use for the task force and he is working hard alongside his British, French, American, Danish, Chilean and Saudi Arabian colleagues where he communicates in English – not his mother tongue.
Operating under the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 29 multi-national naval task force, CTF 151 conducts Counter Piracy operations in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
Whilst Counter Piracy operations are new to Lt Cdr Fernandes de Santana, they are not new to Brazil, a country that already provides staff working in the CMF headquarters in Bahrain.
So far Lt Cdr Fernandes de Santana has learned that the self-protection measures of merchant ships and the presence of task forces in the area, from the CMF, European Union and NATO are all deterring piracy and ensuring that the merchant shipping community is safe to navigate this region.
Lt Cdr Fernandes de Santana said:
“Working with a multinational team, I have learned a lot about key international cultures and I hope that we can convince any potential pirates that piracy is not good for them, their country nor their families, because eventually they could be caught and held to account for their illegal actions.”
Lt Cdr Fernandes de Santana’s wife and family are back at home in Rio de Janeiro waiting to celebrate his return in time for Christmas.
Press Release, October 23, 2013; Image: Royal Navy