One of the primary tasks of the EU Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta is the protection of World Food Programme (WFP) ships and other vulnerable shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean, EU NavFor said in its press release.
Before 2012, all WFP ships carrying aid to Somalia were escorted by EU Naval Force warships. Since mid 2012 some WFP vessels have been protected by an Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD), with the EU Naval Force providing an armed security team on board, instead of providing a warship as an escort.
As a result of the successful cooperation between the EU Naval Force and WFP, not one WFP ship has been attacked by pirates, so all the aid, 880,000 tonnes, has been successfully delivered to the Somali people.
Currently most of the WFP deliveries are conducted by the time chartered vessel, MV Caroline Scan and since 2011 MV Caroline Scan has delivered over 127,000 tonnes of aid. MV Caroline Scan is currently being protected by a Serbian Forces AVPD.
Speaking about the protection given to the WFP by the EU Naval Force, the WFP Country Representative for Somalia, Mr Stefano Porretti stated:
‚ÄúThe continuing collaboration between EU Naval Force and the UN‚Äôs World Food Programme plays a pivotal role in enabling WFP to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities in Somalia. EU Naval Force‚Äôs protection through its AVPD system on board the Caroline Scan has proven to be an effective deterrent against attacks on WFP‚Äôs time chartered vessel and it has ensured the uninterrupted and timely flow of aid to Somalia.‚Äù
According to the World Food Programme, in 2011 over four million people experienced extreme food insecurity, with famine blighting many regions of the south.