Malta, which already has an officer working in the Operational HQ at Northwood, will increase her contribution in the fight against piracy off Somalia with the provision of a Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) from April to July, 2010.
|AFM soldier on anti-piracy lookout on board the EU NAVFOR Dutch Warship |
Source: EU NAVFOR
The 12-man VPD will be embarked onboard Her Netherlands Majesty‘s ship Johan de Witt during its four months in the EU NAVFOR mission. This is Malta‘s first military deployment into the operational theatre under the EU Common Security Defence Policy (CSDP). The Maltese detachment has been sourced from a Special Duties Company of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM).
Malta recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Netherlands whereby it has been agreed that the VPD will provide close protection to ships assigned and they will also contribute, as necessary, to Key Leadership Engagement, Capacity Building and Security Tasks undertaken by “Johan de Witt”.
EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the ‘World Food Program’ (WFP) and vessels of AMISOM, and to protect vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy. EUNAVFOR also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.