Friendly Approaches have helped to build mutual trust and understanding between counter-piracy naval forces and the local Somali community over the last 10 years. At the start of 2019, on the 2nd of January, the Spanish patrol vessel ESPS Relámpago conducted an approach to a Somali dhow as part of standing counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
Once invited on-board the dhow by the Somali crew, the Spanish marines asked them about their daily work and gave them medical aid, food, water and other assistance. Encounters such as this friendly approach help to build relationships with the people in the areas in which ESPS Relámpago is operating, and makes counter-piracy operations more effective by making use of the fishermens' local knowledge.
EU NAVFOR warships are continuing with their counter-piracy patrols along the Somali coast as part of the European Union's effort to help make the waters in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden safer from the risk of piracy-related crime. EU NAVFOR is committed to deterring acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea to allow the free flow of international commerce.