Bajamar Express gets EU NAVFOR escort through high risk area

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Bajamar Expess trimaran being escorted by the Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria

Currently making its delivery journey from Australia to the Canary Islands, the Austal-built 117 meter trimaran ferry Bajamar Express had protection from EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta for its passage through the International Recommended Transit Corridor.

The high speed vessel, which is set to enter service with Fred Olsen Express, exited the corridor at 8.30 p.m., Monday, after a two days crossing under close monitoring of the Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria, currently in direct support of Operation Atalanta.

This morning, Fred Olsen reported that the vessel was making its Suez Canal transit.

The European Union launched the European Union Naval Force Atalanta (EU NAVFOR) in December 2008 within the framework of the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and in accordance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) and International Law.

EU NAVFOR operates in an Area of Operations that covers the Southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and a large part of the Indian Western Ocean.

In addition to deterring piracy and contributing to the free flow of commerce, Operation Atalanta’s mandate includes monitoring of fishing activity off the coast of Somalia, protecting vessels of the World Food Program (WFP) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and supporting other EU missions and international organizations working to strengthen maritime security and capacity in the region.

The composition of EU NAVFOR changes constantly due to the frequent rotation of units and varies according to the monsoon seasons in the Indian Ocean. However, it typically comprises approximately 600 personnel, one two three surface combat vessels and one to two maritime patrol aircraft.

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