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NATO counter-piracy forces conduct Maritime Law Enforcement training of Somali policemen

SOMALI BASIN – Last week, Task Force 508 of NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD conducted Maritime Law Enforcement training of port policemen from Somalia off the coast of the town of Bosaaso.

The training, part of NATO’s efforts in building up regional capacity, included boarding operations and how to secure evidence for trials against suspected maritime criminals. A long-term goal of the international counter-piracy forces and the regional governments is for local forces to maintain maritime security themselves.

Less than two weeks after the first-ever NATO training of Somali maritime forces in Somali territorial waters, the Commanding Officer of HDMS ESBERN SNARE again had the pleasure of addressing graduates of NATO training.

"After the first day with you on board, we had to use the night to adjust today’s programme,” said Commander Henrik Holck Rasmussen. "Your professional skills are so high that we needed to up the ante and make the training more challenging for you.”

Military Police (MP) Crime Investigators taught how to record and collect evidence; protecting a crime scene is crucial in order to convict suspected pirates. The Danish MP personnel are part of the Special Maritime Insertion Unit (SMIU), one of ESBERN SNARE’s specialised assets brought for the counter-piracy mission.

Apart from MPs, the SMI Unit also includes explosive ordnance disposal experts as well as members of the Danish Frogman Corps. The Frogman Corps ("Frømandskorpset”) is an elite naval Special Operations Force, highly experienced in boarding operations. With their expert background, the frogmen built on the skills the Somali pupils came with already. The boarding training culminated with the Port Policemen boarding one of their own tugs, simulating a suspicious dhow.

The graduation ceremony on board ESBERN SNARE was attended by the Puntland Minister of Marine Transport, Ports, and Counter Piracy, Mr Abdallah Jama, as well several senior members of the local authorities.

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