The admiral on the pontoon bridge focuses his binoculars on a speck in the blue-green sea. The Spanish warship the Castilla stops. Special forces climb with a rope ladder on starboard to rubber boats on the high waves and speed away to the wooden fishing boat. It is called a ‘friendly approach’ in the jargon of the anti-pirate operation Atalanta on the Indian Ocean. However, the Somalis on the fishing boat anxiously put their hands in the air.
When boarding, the Spanish soldiers on deck stumble over a shark and a tuna and their shoes get stuck in the nets. “We have a good catch”, head fisherman Hamdi Saleh welcomes them. The eight-person crew dressed in sarongs nods in agreement. “That big ship of yours brings peace,” says Saleh. Everyone gets a T-shirt with the inscription of the European Union’s anti-Pirate brigade, the Navfor. They also get a bottle of water and a carton of cigarettes.