On Tuesday 27 November 2012, the Force Commander of the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia - Operation Atalanta, Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, met with local Somali fishing representatives, clan elders of coastal communities and local authorities on board the EU NAVFOR flagship, ITS San Giusto, off the north-eastern coast of Somalia, near Hurdyo.
This was the second time that EU NAVFOR has held such an engagement as part of the Somali Seafarers Initiative (SSI). The SSI is a long-term project by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) and EU Naval Force, aimed at building lasting relationships with coastal communities and having a better understanding of fishing and security at sea for fishermen - from a local perspective.
All those that attended the SSI meeting agreed that piracy is a plague that has seriously affected local economies and that the solution must ultimately come from the land. They also expressed the wish for continuing SSI engagement in the future.
Speaking about the SSI, Rear Admiral Credendino stated "I see this second meeting as the next step to what I hope will be an ongoing series of initiatives, aimed at building trust and mutual understanding. Both you and EU NAVFOR are really committed to the resolution of piracy in the Somali basin and the development of the whole of Somalia".
During the meeting, much of the focus was on the role that the recently created EUCAP Nestor mission will have in building the maritime capabilities of Somalia.
EUCAP Nestor is a civilian mission conducted under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and augmented with military expertise. The objectives are to strengthen the rule of Law sector in Somalia, with an initial focus on the regions of Puntland and Somaliland, and to strengthen the maritime capacity of Djibouti, Kenya and the Seychelles.
Additionally, the EU is supporting the development of the Somali fishing sector under the regional "SmartFish Programme" (total regional funding: 21 Million euro) implemented by the UNFAO.