Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachments supporting the World Food Programme
One of EU NAVFOR’s mandated tasks is to provide protection to World Food Programme (WFP) ships that bring food aid to Somalia. This has ensured the safe delivery of over 1.8 million tonnes of food aid to the ports of Somalia as of February 2019. The use of Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachments (AVPD) who are embarked to act as the ship’s guard force, remains vital to this.
The primary task of the APVD is to guard against the threat of piracy and armed robbery at sea. Most recently, a team from Serbia embarked aboard the WFP Vessel Petra II, having taken over from Croatia in December 2018. Lithuania and Montenegro have also provided AVPDs for WFP chartered vessels.
AVPDs are fully integrated with the crew of the WFP vessel they are protecting, providing direct support including a medic who can assist where needed. Whilst on-board, the Serbian team conducted daily training and exercises to ensure they are always ready to respond to any threat.
AVPDs, along with EU NAVFOR warships, maritime patrol aircraft, local maritime forces and other measures contribute to a regional coordinated approach to counter-piracy.