Maputo ‚Äî Italian warships currently in Maputo will remain in Mozambican waters for two months in order to undertake training activities with the Mozambican navy and exchange experiences in the fight against piracy.
The four ships are members of the Italian 30th Naval Group. They are the aircraft carrier ‚ÄúCavour‚Äù, the frigate ‚ÄúBergamimi‚Äù, the patrol ship ‚ÄúBorsini‚Äù and the supply vessel ‚ÄúEtna‚Äù.
According to the commander of the 30th Naval Group, Rear Admiral Paolo Treu, the Italian and Mozambican navies will undertake training exercises in such areas as the protection of commercial shipping, the fight against piracy and trafficking, and rescue at sea in the event of maritime accidents.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday on board the ‚ÄúCavour‚Äù, Treu said the Italian navy thought it important to increase and strengthen cooperation with other navies across the world.
‚ÄúFor us, it’s a great pleasure to collaborate with and assist the Mozambican navy‚Äù, he said. ‚ÄúThis is an activity which will increase mutual trust between the two navies and contribute to global security‚Äù.
He stressed that the presence of the Italian warships has nothing to do with the current politico-military tension in parts of Mozambique, but is merely intended to boost cooperation, particularly in the fight against piracy in the Indian Ocean.
‚ÄúWe don’t foment wars‚Äù, declared Treu. ‚ÄúGlobal disarmament would be the most beautiful thing in the world. I’m in favour of global disarmament.
Unfortunately, global disarmament is a utopia‚Äù.
Treu encouraged the Mozambican navy to take the greatest possible advantage of the visit by the Italian ships, since the Italian navy has been on patrol in the Indian Ocean against Somali pirates for several years. He added that piracy was now in decline in the Indian Ocean, thanks to the vigorous presence of naval vessels from various countries. But he warned that if the naval patrols were to slacken, then the pirates would immediately resume their activities.
‚ÄúIt’s like crime in a city‚Äù, Treu said. ‚ÄúIf there’s a strong police presence, crime declines, but if the police are absent, it increases‚Äù.
During the stay of the Italian ships, doctors on board the ‚ÄúCavour‚Äù are carrying out surgery on Mozambican children with facial deformations. These activities are undertaken by the NGO ‚ÄúOperation Smile‚Äù, which provides free surgeries to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities among children. The work is undertaken with the support of volunteer nurses from the Italian Red Cross.