Several European Union Naval Force (EU Navfor) warships have conducted training with the Tanzanian Navy over the last month, with Tanzanian sailors being taught about boarding operations and other anti-piracy skills.
The EU Navfor said that a nine-person team from the flagship FS Siroco recently trained with Tanzanian Marines during a port visit to Dar Es Salaam, who were briefed on boarding operations, including a dynamic boarding exercise. Following this, the team from the French Landing Ship Dock delivered training on assessing merchant ships adherence to Best Management Practices (BMP) and an introduction to the Mercury system that is used by the counter piracy forces to coordinate their efforts in the region.
The Force Commander of EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Herve Blejean, who is embarked aboard FS Siroco, said that, “I am very pleased that the EU Naval Force has been able to deliver some valuable training to the members of the Tanzanian military. Tanzania is a key regional partner and we are always keen to enhance our cooperation, working together against piracy in the Horn of Africa region.”
“I am very pleased to see how much EU Naval Force can rely on the Tanzanian military authorities as a regional key partner for countering piracy in Eastern Africa,” Blejean said. “The cooperation with Tanzania regarding piracy is really important in order to help set up the conditions for a safe and secured maritime environment in the area of operations.”
Late last year, on December 24, 18 Tanzanian sailors were given briefings and practical training on protecting merchant vessels during a visit by EU Navfor warship ITS Libeccio. As well as conducting training with the Tanzanian Navy, the ship’s company also took time to visit to a local orphanage. For the visit to the orphanage, the Italian sailors took with them boxes of clothes, toys and food that had been collected in Italy before the ship departed for Operation Atalanta.
Speaking during the visit, one of the resident nuns, Sister Agnese, told the Italian crew “The construction work began here in 2008, but it was only in 2010 when we were able to host the first 50 children and we now have 220 kids. Whilst we have faced many challenges, due to the endless work of the nuns and now this welcome contribution of the Italian sailors, the school should shortly be able to open, with the first primary school classes on the first floor.”
Also in December, the Spanish EU Navfor warship ESPS Tornado visited Dar Es Salaam where nineteen members of the Tanzanian Navy were given a briefing on boarding operations, followed by a boarding exercise.
Although piracy has dropped over the last couple of years, the European Union maintains a strong naval presence in the Gulf of Aden region to deter Somali pirates. According to the International Maritime Bureau, there were thirteen reported incidences of attempted piracy by Somali pirates between January and November last year, including two successful hijackings.