During her four month deployment with Operation Atalanta, the Spanish warship ESPS Infanta Cristina, performed more than 70 friendly approaches along the coast of Somalia and in the Indian Ocean.
Through the assistance of an interpreter, Spanish sailors and marines met local seafarers and spoke about the role of the EU Naval Force to protect vessels and their crews from pirates. The sailors and marines also learned about the seafarers’ daily lives and challenges they face at sea.
The leader of the Spanish Marine team said: “During our deployment we met many locals at sea. They told us about their culture and traditions and we were able to explain how we have helped to keep the seas off the coast of Somalia safer. As we return home, we are proud of our achievements”.
Since commencement of operations in 2009, the various EU vessels which have served in the anti- and counter-piracy tasking off the Horn of Africa have seen a major drop in the number of piracy incidents to the effect that none have been recorded to date this year.
With the primary task of protesting Wood food programme (WFP) vessels from pirate attacks Operation Atalanta has now ensured safe passage for 313 vessels and ensured delivery of more than 950,000 tons of food destined for distribution to people in need.
The arrest/prosecution ratio of the EU External Action operation is high with 155 arrests resulting in 128 convictions.