Nato warship set to dock at Mombasa port

BY PHILIP MWAKIO

A naval warship belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), which is part of allied forces combating piracy off the Horn of Africa, is expected to dock at the port of Mombasa on Labour Day.

ITS San Marco is part of the Nato Forces currently in Operation Ocean Shield alongside two other vessels, TCG Gokova (Turkey) and USS Nicholas of the United States of America Navy. A communiqué  from Nato’s Allied Maritime Command  Public Affairs Officer Lt Gwenn Laine  dated April 26  says  the warship,  which  also serves as  Nato Forces flagship, ITS San Marco (contributed by the Italian Navy) will be in Kenyan waters  for  one week.

CHARITIES

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During its stay at the port, Italian ambassador to Kenya  Paola Imperiale will join Rear Admiral Antonio Natale to meet civilians and Kenyan Government officials  and make donations  to local charities. And  Commander of the Nato  taskforce Natale will host a media briefing where he will field questions from invited journalists on May 4.

“It  will be an opportunity for Natale  to engage with  Kenyan and international media on Nato’s mission  to counter piracy  in the Indian Ocean,’’ Lt Laine stated.

A tour will take place at sea on May 5 with ITS San Marco departing port with journalists on board. They will be transferred back  to Mombasa by helicopter later in the afternoon. Nato is a key player  in the collective endeavor of the  international community to protect waterways in the Indian Ocean, counter maritime  piracy and develop capacity building  programmes with governments.

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“Nato is acting under a United Nations mandate and its efforts have contributed significantly to the considerable drop in  piracy off the coast of  Eastern Africa,” Lt Laine said.

He said instances of piracy  were at the lowest  levels  seen in 5 years and are down by 35 per cent todate in 2013.

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Nato Mombasa port