EU Naval Force has protected 880 000 tonnes of World Food Programme aid from pirates


Thanks to European Union Naval Force protection, the World Food Programme has not had a single one of its ships attacked by pirates, allowing it to successfully deliver 880 000 tonnes of food aid to Somalia.

One of the primary tasks of the EU Naval Force (EU Navfor) Operation Atalanta is the protection of World Food Programme (WFP) ships and other vulnerable shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean.

Before 2012, all WFP ships carrying aid to Somalia were escorted by EU Naval Force warships. Since mid 2012 some WFP vessels have been protected by an Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD), with the EU Naval Force providing an armed security team on board, instead of providing a warship as an escort. This has ensured that no WFP ship has been attacked by pirates, the EU Navfor said.

Currently most of the WFP deliveries are conducted by the time chartered vessel, MV Caroline Scan and since 2011 MV Caroline Scan has delivered over 127 000 tonnes of aid. MV Caroline Scan is currently being protected by a Serbian Forces AVPD.

Speaking about the protection given to the WFP by the EU Naval Force, the WFP Country Representative for Somalia, Stefano Porretti said, “The continuing collaboration between EU Naval Force and the UN’s World Food Programme plays a pivotal role in enabling WFP to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities in Somalia. EU Naval Force’s protection through its AVPD system on board the Caroline Scan has proven to be an effective deterrent against attacks on WFP’s time chartered vessel and it has ensured the uninterrupted and timely flow of aid to Somalia.”

According to the World Food Programme, in 2011 over four million people experienced extreme food insecurity, with famine blighting many regions of southern Somalia.

The main task of Operation Atalanta is to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of African Union Mission in Somalia. However, EU Navfor plays a big role in protecting vulnerable vessels in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean by deterring and disrupting piracy. The organisation also monitors fishing activity off the Somali coast.