The AFM’s Special Duties Enhanced Boarding Team (SDEBT), led by Lt Col Ian Ruggier, has returned from an anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia.

The team of three officers and 19 other ranks was based on the Dutch Navy ship HNLMS Johan de Witt.

Their service was part of the EU Led Anti-Piracy mission codenamed EU NAV FOR ATALANTA. The Maltese contingent performed several board-and-search operations in the Gulf of Aden, deterring pirate attacks in the region, the AFM said.

This was the third such operation by Maltese soldiers. Dutch Marines have now taken over the protection duties that were previously being carried out by the Maltese forces.

The Maltese contingent was met on its arrival at Malta International Airport by the Commander of the Armed Forces of Malta, Brigadier Martin G Xuereb, accompanied by Capt Jason Ebejer, Officer Commanding ‘C’ Special Duties Company. 

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