A team of 24 troops from Uganda, part of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), received vessel protection training from French and Estonian troops in Mombasa on board FS FLOREAL, which is operating in the region as part of the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR).
The training provided to Ugandan troops was planned as part of ongoing improvements in capability and to enhance AMISOM’s drills in response to a potential pirate attack. The AMISOM team will form a cohort of troops who may embark on the M/V PETRA which provides logistic support for AMISOM shipping en-route between Mombasa and Mogadishu.
Training in the pirates’ modus operandi, tactics, rules of engagement, unarmed combat and detention of suspects were carried out onboard the FS FLOREAL before moving to the M/V PETRA for practical drills, the EU NAVFOR said. The French frigate joined EU NAVFOR Task Force 465 on November 9. The 93.5 metre long vessel has a displacement of 2 950 t when fully loaded. She has a crew of just under 100 and is equipped with a Panther helicopter.
The training culminated with the presentation of certificates by the Commanding Officer, Commander Christophe Pasco, to the AMISOM team. According to the Naval Force, the training will allow significant flexibility in the planning for World Food Programme and AMISOM escorts and if the occasion arises, these troops will be able to operate autonomously.
EU NAVFOR conducts counter-piracy in the Indian Ocean and is responsible for the protection of World Food Program ships carrying humanitarian aid for the people of Somalia and the logistic support vessels of the African Union troops conducting Peace Support Operations in Somalia. Additionally, EU NAVFOR monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.
Pirates operating from the Somali coast have raked in millions of dollars in ransoms from hijacking ships. They are holding more than 240 hostages and 10 vessels.
A report earlier this year estimated maritime piracy costs the global economy between US$7 billion and US$12 billion through higher shipping costs and ransom payments.
The European Union is also providing training to Somali troops to combat lawlessness on land. Swedish General Hakan Syren, chairman of the EU Military Committee, last month said that an EU training mission intended to help improve security within Somalia was making progress, and was now training a third batch of almost 700 Somali soldiers.