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Belgian Alsation dog is essential crew member of French warship

French sniffer dog in the MediterraneanA highly trained four-year-old Malinois dog is a specialist crew member of the French light frigate FS Commandant Ducuing currently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea as part of EUNavFor Sophia.

The vessels is tasked with patrol duties off the Libyan coast and the Malinois, an explosive and weapons specialist, is an integral part of boarding teams seeking illegal weapons on vessels in the French warships, area of operations.

Part of the daily duties of dog and handler, even when needed for search duties, are exercises designed to keep the dog at the peak of his abilities when it comes to detecting gun powder or arms. His handler reported the dog, at sea for the first time, is becoming better and handling even adverse weather conditions.

“This is important and when added to the ongoing training means the dog will be able to fulfil his mission once aboard another vessel,” his handler, who cannot be named for security reasons, said.

In addition to boarding and searching suspicious vessels the dog is also part of friendly approaches made by Commandant Ducuing to collect information regarding maritime activities off the Libyan coast. Since her arrival on station just over a month ago, Ducuing has conducted six friendly approaches in international waters.

The presence of a specialised canine unit in the form of a highly trained Malinois aboard the French warship is further illustration of the commitment by both France and the EU to controlling and deterring illegal weapons trafficking in international waters, EU NavFor Sophia said. The tasking is in accordance with the UN Security Council resolution condemning the flow of arms to or from Libya and authoring member states to conduct inspections, seize and divert vessels suspected of carrying or transferring arms.

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