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EU naval force rescues 7 Somali Navy sailors

The European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia said Tuesday it has rescued seven Somali Navy personnel who were stranded off the coast of Somalia.

The EU Naval Force which has been deployed to fight pirates along the Indian Ocean coastline said it received a request on Sunday to assist a vessel belonging to the Somali Navy in distress some 60 km north of Cadale in southern Somalia.

It said the vessel had reportedly experienced mechanical difficulties and the crew was concerned for their safety.

“EU NAVFOR Somalia launched a Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) to determine the location of the Somali Naval vessel in distress. After contact and coordination with the Somali Navy Headquarters and the Mogadishu Port Police, Operation ATALANTA decided to send its closest vessel to assist the Somali Navy personnel,” it said in a statement.

It said the Spanish frigate ESPS Canarias had been on its way to make a scheduled port visit nearby when the distress call altered the mission.

According to the naval forces, rescue reached the Somali vessel early on Monday and provided the sailors with food, water and technical assistance.

“After the seven Somali Navy sailors were brought to safety they thanked EU NAVFOR Somalia for their efforts,” said Operation ATALANTA Commander Antonio Planells Palau.

He vowed the EU naval forces will maintain security in the waters off the Somali coast and provide support to other actors with shared objectives in the region.

“We are proud to have assisted these Somali Navy sailors to safety,” said Palau.

Somali Navy within Cadale town has been using the Indian Ocean coastline to transport goods and services to and from Mogadishu due to threats posed by al-Shabab militants along the major roads especially along the Marka-Mogadishu highway.

The EU Naval Force warships are providing protection to the UN chartered vessels supplying the AMISOM which is supporting the transitional Somali government to stabilize the nation.

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