During her recent port visit to the Seychelles, the EU Naval Force flagship, FGS Brandenburg conducted an oil spill exercise with units of the Seychelles Coast Guard, Air Force, Fire and Rescue Services, Port authorities and Maritime Safety Administration.
The command team of FGS Brandenburg co-ordinated and planned the complex local maritime capability building exercise in co-operation with the EUCAP Nestor team in the Seychelles, who provided support in the planning, preparation as well as its execution and the Seychelles authorities.
The scenario started in the early morning of June 4. The Seychelles Coast Guard received a simulated distress call reporting a collision between a ferry and an oil tanker in the coastal waters off Mahe. The collision had caused an oil leak and a small fire on board the tanker. German frigate, FGS Brandenburg provided assistance to the search and rescue (SAR) operation by sending her two speedboats to search for any crew members who may have fallen overboard.
The rescue mission was also supported by an aircraft from the Seychelles Air Force, which patrolled the scene from the air. The Seychelles Port Authorities sent a tug with floating booms and oil barriers to contain the oil spill and the fire and rescue service intervened to extinguish the fire.
Passengers from the ferry were evacuated to FGS Brandenburg, and once on board received medical treatment and had their personal details noted.
This exercise was an excellent opportunity to enhance co-ordination and communication amongst the different elements of the Seychelles Defence Forces, and international partners such as the European Union.
EUCAP Nestor is a civilian mission, under the Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union, mandated to assist countries of the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean develop capacities and capabilities to ensure maritime security, in particular counter-piracy and maritime governance.
The EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta deters, prevents and represses acts of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia. EU Naval Force ships protect World Food Programme vessels delivering aid to Somalia and AMISOM shipping. The German led Force headquarters is embarked on the EU Naval Force flagship FGS Brandenburg.