German EU Naval Force ship FGS Augsburg recently hosted ten sailors from the Djiboutian Navy aboard their vessel to impart some naval wisdom on them.
The German frigate is in the region as a part of the European Union Naval Force’s (EU NAVFOR) Operation Atalanta, aimed at securing the Indian Ocean from Somali pirates. While conducting patrols in the ocean, vessels from the task-force are also aiding local coast guards and navies in building their own maritime security capacity.
EUCAP Nestor is another concurrent mission that is more specifically aimed at helping local coastal nations police their own waters, as the presence of EU NAVFOR in the region can’t last forever.
The sailors from Djibouti were schooled in how to properly prepare to board a hostile vessel. They were instructed on the deck of the Augsburg on how to use equipment such as body armor, grappling hooks, assault rifles and sniper rifles.
German officers on the ships see these small steps as very important in slowly developing an acceptable maritime security apparatus for local nations.
Elsewhere on the ship, other Djiboutian Navy soldiers learned from technical systems officers on the interior of the ship. Here, the Germans explained the importance and the best use of radar for monitoring open water. They also demonstrated a powerful tool known as Mercury Chat. This program, which can be run from a laptop, bring the user in direct communication with the Maritime Security Center Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), which is run by the European Union.
This is a powerful tool for civilian ships. They may need to contact security authorities quickly in the event of an attempted hijacking. Having a direct line to the offices of Operation Atalanta is a huge boost in securing the waters. The MSCHOA can quickly dispatch the nearest military vessel to assist the distressed ship.
Djiboutian police colonel described the importance of such training sessions: “This was for us an initial step, a first glimpse,” said Buik. He added that “We look to build on this.”