Philippine Information AgencyMANILA, Oct 22 -- The Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom (UK) visited the headquarters of the European Union Naval Force (Eunavfor) in Northwood, a borough in northern London, on October 16 to obtain information on counter-piracy operations off Somalia and establish a direct linkage with principal officials of Eunavfor.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom (UK) Enrique A. Manalo was accompanied by his political officers, Messrs. Francisco Noel Fernandez III and Marshall Louis Alferez, a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
The Eunavfor is the European Union’s naval task force under Operation Atalanta whose mission is to protect shipment of World Food Program (WFP) provisions to refugees in Somalia, deter and suppress piracy activities in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin and protect vulnerable merchant ships operating in the affected areas.
Manalo was received by UK Rear Admiral and Eunavfor Commander Duncan Potts and Italian Rear Admiral and Eunavfor Deputy Commander Gualtiero Mattesi.
Mattesi led the extensive briefing given to Manalo and the visit to the Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSCHOA).
MSCHOA is one of the identified focal points where merchant vessels need to register themselves prior to transiting through the dangerous waters off Somalia.
The registration procedure is embodied in the Best Management Practices (BMPs) adopted by the private shipping industry and endorsed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as the first line of defense against pirate attacks.
During the visit, Manalo also conveyed the decision made by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to make available a team of its Special Operations Group (SOG) for deployment as a Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) on board WFP-chartered vessels.
VPD Teams are deployed on board merchant vessels to protect them from pirate attacks as they transit the coast off Somalia. This offer of a PCG commando team was in response to the request for governments to contribute naval and other assets for counter-piracy operations. The details of this deployment are being worked on by officials.
“Our visit to the EUNAVFOR Headquarters is a concrete manifestation of the Philippine government's desire to further contribute to counter-piracy operations off Somalia. This is important as it is the Filipino seafarers who would stand to benefit from the international efforts to protect shipping from pirate attacks,” Manalo said. (DFA/PIA Newsdesk)*