H.E. Ms. Reem Ibraheem Al Hashemy, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates, H.E. Amb. Mohammed Salem Alsuweidi, UAE Ambassador to Belgium and other UAE authorities also visited the ship.
During the visit, NATO and UAE political and military authorities received a briefing on NATO’s counter-piracy mission, Operation Ocean Shield by Libeccio’s Commanding Officer Commander Alberto Sodomaco and by the Deputy Commander of Allied Maritime Command Component Northwood, Admiral Hans-Jochen Witthauer. After the meeting, the Secretary General of NATO H.E. Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered a speech to the crew of Libeccio.
During his speech the Secretary General remarked: “You’ve done a superb job in the Gulf of Aden where fewer and fewer successful attacks have been registered this year and where there have been none at all in the past few months. You are making a most vital contribution to the international community’s safety and security, and for that, I should like to thank you most sincerely for the great job you are all doing. And I am delighted to say that the North Atlantic Council agrees with me on this point – indeed they have approved the award to all of you of the NATO non-Article 5 medal, inscribed with Africa. I can think of no better way for NATO’s political and military authorities to demonstrate their gratitude to you”.
The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is currently carrying out counter-piracy activities at sea in the area off the Horn of Africa, in close coordination with other nations and organizations, including Combined Task Force 151 and the EU-led operation Atalanta.