Training support to help boost the Horn of Africa regional states‚Äô maritime security and counter piracy capabilities is very much part of the European Union‚Äôs counter piracy mission ‚Äì Operation Atalanta. ¬†In this context and in co‚Äëoperation with the recently launched civilian led mission, EUCAP NESTOR, 10 Djibouti Navy soldiers were recently offered the opportunity to obtain some insight into German Navy procedures aboard the German frigate FGS Augsburg.
On the flight deck of the FGS Augsburg 7 sailors of the Djibouti Navy gathered around the Boarding Master, as the experienced senior Chief Petty Officer gave a demonstration on the equipment used by the Boarding Team of FGS Augsburg, including body armour, grappling hook, sub‚Äëmachine gun and a sniper rifle.
Talking about the training given to the Djiboutian Navy, German Police Lieutenant Colonel Ralf Gehling, who is in charge of the training programme said ‚ÄúWe are taking small steps, but we are making real progress.‚Äù
Information exchange via live chat
In the operations room inside the Augsburg, 3 other Djibouti Navy soldiers gathered around the frigate‚Äôs Command and Control Systems Officer. ¬†Besides the essential functions of the command and control room, the German Officer was able to explain the capabilities of the radar for monitoring the sea. ¬†He then directs the attention of the visitors to a seemingly simple laptop which has an important function though. ¬†It runs the Mercury Chat which is operated by the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) of the European Union.
Civilian merchant ships may register and log-on to the MSCHOA chat room, and thus be in direct contact with staff at the Operation ATALANTA Operation HQ in Northwood. The purpose of the chat room is to promote the exchange of information, pass on warnings and also instructions for action in a threat or crisis situation. This facility is an important instrument for improving security at the Horn of Africa.
On onboard FGS Augsburg, the two‚Äëhour training passes by quickly. ¬†After a group photo is taken, it is soon time for a cordial farewell to the Djibouti sailors. ‚ÄúThis was for us an initial step, a first glimpse‚Äù said the Djiboutian police colonel, Christoph Buik as he described the day. ‚ÄúWe look to build on this ‚Äù explained the Adviser to the Mission on Police Affairs.