Before EU NAVFOR’s German P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) and its detachment of 85 personnel depart their current base in Djibouti to fly home to Germany later this week, Force Commander, Rear Admiral Rafael Fernández-Pintado Muñoz-Rojas, took to opportunity to meet the crew to thank them for their outstanding support.
The German detachment has been deployed with EU NAVFOR for the past three months. The aircraft has flown almost 400 hours and completed over 45 flying missions as part of the European Union’s efforts to deter and disrupt acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
During an aerial patrol the aircraft is able to fly over large areas of the Somali coastline and importantly, monitor beaches that have previously been used by pirates to plan attacks. The aircrew can also capture high quality imagery of dhows and skiffs that are deemed to be acting suspiciously and pass this information to the Force Commander on board ESPS Galicia, who will then assess the situation and take action as necessary.
Speaking about their successful three-month deployment, the commander of the German MPRA Detachment, Cdr Henry Poenisch, said, “It has been an honour and a pleasure to interact and cooperate with all our partners in the area of operations. Together we not only improved the operational capabilities of the Detachment, we also provided front line support to the Force Commander and importantly, helped to keep seafarers safe. I am extremely proud of my highly motivated and professional team who have worked tirelessly to deter acts of piracy.”