Indian Navy escorts its first WFP vessel in Somalian waters

An Indian Navy frigate reached a milestone recently as it became the first Indian warship to escort a vessel of UN’s World Food Program.

INS Sunayna completed the escort for the first time since counter-piracy deployments began in 2008, following an escort request by EU NAVFOR.

A WFP dhow was transporting 360 tons of food aid from Bosaso to Berbera, in northern Somalia. Over 1.5 million people face acute levels of food insecurity in Somalia, and 2.6 million are internally displaced.

INS Sunayna has been deployed for anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since October 6, 2018. EU NAVFOR sent an escort request to other international naval forces earlier in December, to which the Indian Navy responded. This support demonstrates the good work and cooperation that can be achieved in the region between the EU and partner nations.

Coordinated efforts between EU NAVFOR and other international maritime organisations are vital to ensure the free flow and safe passage of commerce around the Horn of Africa. The frequent Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) conferences held in Bahrain provide a critical mechanism to work out and share best practices.

As of 8 January 2019, EU NAVFOR and its key regional partners have protected 450 WFP vessels and enabled the safe delivery of nearly 1.8 million tonnes of aid into Somalia since the commencement of operation Atalanta in December 2008.

Photo: Photo: EUNAVFOR