Swedish combat boats outside of Mogadishu

On 13 March the unit ME 04 participated in a logistical operation just outside of Mogadishu. The operation involved transporting two vehicles from Djibouti to Mogadishu. The vehicles belong to the EU-led mission EUCAP Nestor which is working to strengthen the safety of navigation in the coastal states around the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, but mainly in Somalia.

Three men in uniform on the beach, a vehicle behind.
The head of EUCAP Nestor in Somalia, Pierre-Aimé Riccio, met Lieutenant Colonel Anders Åkermark on the beach. Photo: Doenja Zwaan/the Armed forces of the Netherlands
Military boat outside the beatches. Landing airplane in the background.
Mogadishu International Airport is right on the outer edge of the city. Here, aeroplanes and helicopters land and take off all of the time. Photo: Mats Nyström/Swedish Armed Forces
The logistical operation is less about the vehicles and more about the cooperation between the EU-led operations. Photo: Magnus Lindstedt/Swedish Armed Forces

There is a lot of activity at Mogadishu International Airport. New aeroplanes and helicopters are constantly landing and taking off. Most of them are white and marked with the letters "UN". The airport is in the east of the city – right next to the Indian Ocean with an open view across the sea. It is not unusual to see ships outside of the airport but on Friday 13 March something more unusual could be witnessed. A hundred or so metres off the coast, a Swedish combat boat passed by. It is the first time that a Combat Boat 90 is used in Somalia. During the introductory phase of the logistical operation the combat boats are used for scouting, and throughout the main part of the operation they are used to protect the Dutch landing craft which is using a wheeled loader to bring the vehicles ashore.

The landing craft is carrying personnel from HNLMS Johan de Witt. The head of the Swedish contingent, Lieutenant Colonel Anders Åkermark, is also aboard. He wades ashore. The water is up to his waist. He soon reaches land and is welcomed by representatives from EUCAP Nestor, European Training Mission – Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

"We have supported vehicles being delivered with amphibious units from Johan de Witt, both Swedish and Dutch. As such, we are bringing together EUCAP Nestor and the EU Naval Force", says Anders.
The wheel loader lowers the vehicles and carefully returns to the Dutch loading craft. A representative from EUCAP Nester turns the key in one of the vehicle's ignition switches. It starts immediately. Slowly, the vehicle starts to roll away from the beach. The operation has succeeded and the personnel on the beach begin making their way back to HNLMS Johan Witt.