Members of the Press speaking with naval officers alongside the Lynx shipboard helicopter on the flight deck.
The Dutch frigate NMNLS Van Amstel paid a visit to Dar es Salaam on 23 April, hosting a media briefing to highlight international efforts to fight piracy along the East African coast and the EU military support given to WFP's humanitarian operations in the region.
The event was organised by the European Union with the support of WFP Tanzania and the Embassy of the Netherlands, and attended by EU Ambassador to Tanzania Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, Dutch Ambassador to Tanzania Dr Kuindert Adriaan Koekkoek, and WFP Tanzania Representative Richard Ragan. “Piracy is the current economic challenge in the region,” said Ambassador Sebregondi at the event. “Tanzania has an important role to play in supporting efforts made by other countries in fighting against pirates.”
The Van Amstel is part of the contribution by the Royal Netherlands Navy to Somalia Operation Atalanta, the ongoing operation against piracy by the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR). To date, Van Amstel has escorted two vessels chartered by WFP destined for Somalia. “WFP remains extremely grateful to the EU for escorting ships carrying our food,” said Ragan. “Piracy continues to be a major concern for everyone in this region and without this sort of crucial protection for our vessels literally millions of hungry people would be at risk of famine.”
WFP vessels have received more than 90 EU NAVFOR escorts under Operation Atalanta since it began in December 2008. More than 620,000 metric tons of food - enough to feed 1.2 million people for one year - has been escorted safely to Somalia since November 2007, with the support of NATO and the European Union.
Members of the press were given a glimpse of the workings of the ship and on the flight deck, alongside the shipboard Lynx helicopter, members of the Navy of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) participated in fire fighting and first aid training with Dutch Marine Corps officers.