INTERTANKO Director Visits EU NAVFOR
Operation Atalanta Operation Headquarters (OHQ) welcomed a visit from Phillip Belcher, Marine Director at the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO), as part of key EU NAVFOR relations with the shipping industry at a strategic level.
Operation Atalanta, formally European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia, said in a press release that Belcher visited to hold a meeting regarding the latest developments in counter-piracy operations and the last incidents in the Indian Ocean.
The meeting was chaired by Operation Atalanta’s Deputy Commander, Rear Admiral Giovanni Battista Piegaja. Also in the meeting were Operation Atalanta’s Political Advisors, the Special Advisor for Relations with Industry and Intel and other staff officers.
Operation Atalanta staff delivered an update on the current state of maritime security in the region. The meeting served to re-assure the trust that has existed between INTERTANKO and Operation Atalanta for over ten years.
The presentations also emphasized the smooth transition that recently took place from former Atalanta OHQ location in Northwood (UK) to the new OHQ in Rota (Spain).
The last piracy incident only one month after the transfer of authority was a real test for Operation Atalanta in regards to incident response, Operation Atalanta staff shared in the meeting.
Regular operations now have combined with the development of new procedures and both together have begun to build an even more robust maritime situational awareness in the region. The implementation of new satellite-based technologies were also essential topics from the meeting.
Belcher emphasized in his speech how important the work of EU NAVFOR Somalia is to maintain the freedom of navigation and trade in the region, which is a key factor for global economy. Also, it was mentioned that EU NAVFOR’s contribution to Best Management Practice (BMP) is critical.
EU NAVFOR provides statistics for the BMPs that ultimately help authorities understand which self-protection measures are necessary to safeguard seafarers and vessels transiting the region.