German frigate visits Kenyan anti-piracy centre


The German frigate Bremen, operating under the European Union Naval Force’s Operation Atalanta, has visited the piracy Information Sharing Centre in Mombasa, Kenya.

This centre is one of three under the Djibouti Code of Conduct concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, commissioned by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2011. The Mombasa ISC is co-housed with the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (RMRCC), which operates on a 24-hour basis and covers extensive areas of the western Indian Ocean, including the Seychelles. Countries such as Maldives, Seychelles, Mauritius, Kenya and later also Somalia are reporting information on the movement of pirates to the ISC/RMRCC, and thus contribute to efforts to supress piracy in the region.

On July 15 FGS Bremen operations officer liaised with ISC/RMRCC personnel, exchanged experience, shared information on the current situation of piracy and briefed on the Mercury system, an internet-based secured communication network, used as an alert and coordination tool by all anti-piracy stakeholders, civilian and military. On-board the German frigate Bremen the operations officer and other crewmembers answered questions in regard to counter-piracy efforts by FGS Bremen and Operation Atalanta.

Such engagements and the exchange of experience are paramount for mutual success in the fight against piracy, the European Union Naval Force said. “The current significant decrease in piracy activity has indeed been achieved by coordinated military action and use of BMPs but also by liaising and assisting local navies, coast guards and maritime authorities.”

FGS Bremen commenced her tour of duty patrolling the waters of the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa as the tenth ship of the EU Naval Force in May, leaving her home port of Wilhelmshaven on May 7.

Originally designed as a submarine hunter Bremen is now equipped as a multi-role vessel equally capable in the roles of escort and maritime protection as anti air and surface warfare. The crew of roughly 220 is extremely well prepared, with many having deployed previously on the EU Navfor mission.

Being the first German warship designed to carry a helicopter, Bremen also brings with her yet another air asset for surveillance and disruption.