Friday, April 26, 2013

Whilst Container Shipping Sails Securely By Naval Forces Maintain Anti Piracy Training  

From Efficient Arrest Techniques to Medical Emergencies Complacency is not an Issue

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INDIAN OCEAN – HORN OF AFRICA – With much backslapping amongst the bulk and container freight and passenger shipping sectors of late, heavy doses of self-congratulation from the private security community and doubtless sighs of relief within cargo and vessel insurance groups, there is a serious danger that the diminishing returns from piracy in the waters off the Somali coast and beyond will lead to complacency.

The efforts of the naval forces which have achieved so much in arriving at the status quo and remain arrayed against the criminals however remain undiminished as evidenced by the recent activities of EU NAVFOR. Today (April 26) EUCAP Nestor, EU Naval Force, and the Seychelles Coast Guard carried out a joint counter-piracy exercise to jointly hone their skills and enhance coordination and cooperation between the Seychelles Coast Guard and EU NAVFOR as well as further develop the capabilities of the Coast Guard with regard to procedures for evidence handling. Criticisms of the authorities have been raised in the past when they have simply had insufficient evidence to arraign suspects.

The exercise, the first of its kind in that it included all three forces, involved a mock interception of a suspected pirate skiff in Seychelles waters by the combined efforts of EU NAVFOR and the Seychelles Coast Guard. The Coast Guard vessel, Topaz, and a helicopter from French Navy ship, LHD Tonnerre, operating under EU NAVFOR flag, jointly intervened against a suspected pirate skiff. The roles of EU NAVFOR and the Seychelles Coast Guard will be familiar to most readers but EUCAP Nestor is less well known.

EUCAP Nestor is a regional training mission initiated by the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy with the sole purpose of assisting countries in the Horn of Africa and the western coastal Indian Ocean region to develop their own sustainable security policies and procedures. There are currently four EUCAP Nestor experts in the Seychelles working on building the capacities of the Seychelles Coast Guard, Seychelles Air Force, Police, and Judiciary to conduct maritime security operations in particular counter-piracy.

A number of dignitaries including Admiral Launay, the Head of Mission for EUCAP Nestor and Lt Col Adeline, the Commanding Officer of the Seychelles Coast Guard, the Deputy Operational Commander of EU NAVFOR, Rear Admiral Eric Dupont, the Commanding Officer of the Tonnerre, Captain Jean-Francois Quérat, the Ambassador of France, HE Geneviève Iancu, and the British High Commissioner, HE Lindsay Skoll were all on board the Topaz to observe today’s exercise with Lt Col Adeline commenting:

“We welcome the assistance from our friends from the EU. This helps us to improve our capacity to fight piracy and ensure the maritime security of the Seychelles.”

Admiral Launay said he felt the exercise was a perfect example of the partnership with the Seychelles and EU NAVFOR whilst Captain Quérat commented on the professionalism of the Coast Guard personnel and how they had demonstrated how serious they were taking the matter of dealing with piracy. Rear-Admiral Dupont concluded:

“This exercise is a tangible illustration of the EU’s comprehensive approach to maritime security in the region. As EUCAP NESTOR and EU NAVFOR work ever more closely together, we hope that this will be the first of many regular exercises which enable combined understanding and improved regional maritime security. In carrying out its mandate, EU NAVFOR fully supports the work of EUCAP Nestor in the region.”

EU NAVFOR has also been planning for the type of medical emergency which can afflict such a mission and requires medical competence even if far from land. Earlier this month, HMS Carlskrona conducted an exercise practising a medical evacuation whilst at sea. The Swedish warship has the capability to perform stabilising surgery, damage control and perform intensive care for 2-3 patients, for up to 72 hours utilising a team of 4 senior doctors and 7 nurses serving within the ship’s medical department.

Our photograph shows a member of the ship’s company playing the part of a sailor who had fallen badly, causing a broken pelvic bone with extensive bleeding inside the abdomen. Having prepared the patient he is being moved to the helicopter deck for evacuation.

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