Operation Atalanta

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Operation Atalanta
Part of Piracy in Somalia
Somalian Piracy Threat Map 2010.png
Piracy area of interest in the Indian Ocean (2005-2010)
Date 8 December 2008 – ongoing
(5 years, 11 months and 2 weeks)
Location Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean
Belligerents
 European Union [1] [1] Pirates
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom Major General Martin Smith MBE
Operation Commander EU Naval Force

Netherlands Brigadier General Dick Swijgman
Deputy Operation Commander EU Naval Force


Italy Rear Admiral Guido Rando
Force Commander EU Naval Force
Unknown
Strength
Typically 4–7 Surface vessels, 2-3 Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft. Exact number differs from time to time Unknown

Operation Atalanta, also known as European Union Naval Force Somalia (EU-NAVFOR-ATALANTA), is a current military operation that is the first undertaken by the European Union Naval Force. It is part of a larger global action by the EU to prevent and combat acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia. It cooperates with the multinational Combined Task Force 151 of the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and NATO's anti-terrorism Operation Ocean Shield. The Operational headquarters is located at Northwood Headquarters in the UK.[2]

The mission launched with a focus on protecting Somalia-bound vessels and shipments belonging to the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the World Food Programme (WFP), as well as select other vulnerable shipments. In addition, Operation Atalanta monitors fishing activity on the regional seaboard.[2] In 2012, the scope of the mission expanded to include Somali coastal territories and internal waters so as to co-ordinate counter-piracy operations with Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and regional administrations.[3] On 16 July 2012, the EU also mandated the EUCAP Nestor mission to build up the maritime capacity of regional navies.[4]

Overview[edit]

Under UNSC mandate, EU NAVFOR - Operation Atalanta conducts:

  • The protection of vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia; the protection of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) shipping;
  • The deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast;
  • The protection of vulnerable shipping off the Somali coast on a case by case basis;
  • In addition, contribute to the monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia.[2]

Operation Atalanta is linked to the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA), an initiative established by the European Union Naval Force, with close co-operation from industry, in response to threats to shipping in waters off the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa. The MSC-HOA centre provides 24 hour manned monitoring of vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden, whilst the provision of an interactive website enables the Centre to communicate the latest anti-piracy guidance to industry and for Shipping Companies and operators to register their movements through the region.[5]

This military operation was launched, in accordance with the EU Council Joint Action 2008/851 and EU Council Decision 2008/918, on 8 December 2008. The operation was in support of Resolutions 1814, 1816 and 1838 which were adopted in 2008 by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). To follow were a number of other Resolutions with the most recent being Resolution 1976, adopted by the UNSC on 11 April 2011.

Operation Atalanta was scheduled to last for an initial period of twelve months (until 13 December 2009) and was subsequently extended by the Council of the EU until December 2012.[2] In March 2012, it was announced that the Operation Atalanta initiative would be extended until December 2014.[3]

As of January 2011 twenty-three EU and four other countries have participated in Operation Atalanta.[2][6] Although the United Kingdom hosts the headquarters and has contributed leadership and ships to Atalanta, the permanent British presence in the Persian Gulf (Operation Kipion) means that Royal Navy ships are usually assigned to the more wide-ranging CMF structure such as CTF-151.

Around 2,000 military personnel are involved in Atalanta,[6] with the size of the force typically varying between 4-7 surface vessels and 2-3 Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Funding amounted to €8.4 million for 2010 and €8.05 million for 2011. The agreed budget for 2012 is up to €8.3 million. A budget of €14.9 million is provided for the common costs of the prolonged mandate until December 2014.[2]

Prelude[edit]

The Transitional Federal Government has made some efforts to fight piracy, occasionally allowing foreign naval vessels into Somali territorial waters. Still, such vessels were usually forced to break off when they chased pirates into Somali territorial waters.[7][8] The government of Puntland has made more progress.[9]

The Transitional Federal Government wrote to the President of the Council asking for international help to fight piracy and armed robbery against ships off the coast of Somalia. In June 2008, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1816 authorizing nations that have the agreement of the Transitional Federal Government to enter Somali territorial waters to deal with pirates.[10] The measure, which was sponsored by France, the United States and Panama, will last six months. France initially wanted the resolution to include other regions with pirate problems, such as West Africa, but were opposed by Vietnam, Libya and most importantly by veto-holding China, who wanted the sovereignty infringement limited to Somalia.[11]

Operation[edit]

On 2 January 2009, one of the Operation's ships captured eight pirates who were about to board a ship.[12]

On 18 February 2009, it was reported that Switzerland was considering joining the Operation either by direct troop contribution or other means, such as helicopters or funds.[13]

Commodore Antonios Papaioannou from the Hellenic Navy became afloat commander of Task Force, reporting to Rear Admiral Jones in Northwood, in early 2009.

On 14 April, the French frigate Nivôse attached to Operation Atalanta captured 11 suspected pirates together with their mother ship and two skiffs in an EU NAVFOR focused operation carried out in the Indian Ocean. The French ship responded to the distress message by the 21,000 tonne Liberia flagged MV Safmarine Asia which came under small arms and RPG attack from two skiffs operating to a pirate mother ship. The warship deployed its helicopter which quickly arrived on the scene to deter the hijacking and shadow the mother vessel until the frigate arrived.[14]

From 15 May 2009, the EU Naval Task Force was joined by two Swedish corvettes, HMS Stockholm and HMS Malmö, and their tender HMS Trossö. They were transported from Sweden mid-April on the back of a dock ship and arrived in Djibouti three weeks later.[16]

On 26 May 2009, the EU Naval Task Force vessel HMS Malmö responded to a distress call from the European cargo vessel M/V Antonis and apprehended seven suspected pirates.[17][18]

From 5 to 7 March 2010, mission forces from France, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden were in action, with the French frigate Nivôse (F 732) having secured its "biggest seizure" so far in the vital shipping lane, with 35 pirates arrested and four mother ships seized in three days off Somalia.[19]

In May 2010, there were a number of actions in the area. Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov freed the 106,474-ton MV Moscow University carrying crude oil from Sudan to China about 350 miles east of Socotra.[20] Two days later, though, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had proved impossible to establish the pirates’ citizenship or to establish legal grounds for prosecuting, so the pirates were put back on their boat and set free.[21] In another action, the Greek warship the Elli captured a high-speed skiff with seven people aboard 50 miles south of Mukalla. In a third action, Swedish aircraft attached to the EU Naval Force, the French warship Lafayette, and the Dutch warship HNLMS Johan de Witt collaborated in the spotting and capture of a pirate action group composed of a whaler and two skiffs about 400 miles northwest of the Seychelles Islands. And two South Korean vessels were attacked, one escaping and one being held about 4 miles off the coast of Somalia, with a South Korean warship nearby. The report on these actions, citing other news reports, concluded that pirates were holding almost 20 vessels and about 300 crew members then seized.[20]

In December 2010, Estonia became the 26th nation to contribute to Operation Atalanta.[22] Estonia provided a vessel protection detachment, which initially operated onboard German Frigate FGS Hamburg.[22] In January 2011 Lithuania provided an officer to the operational headquarters.[6]

On 15 May 2012, EU naval forces conducted their first raid on pirate bases on the Somalia mainland as part of the operation, saying they 'destroyed several boats'. The forces were transported by helicopter to the pirate bases near the port of Harardhere. The attack was carried out overnight, and, according to the European forces, no local residents were hurt during the mission.[23]

Deployed Units[edit]

Vessels[edit]

The following vessels are part of EU NAVFOR's current fleet in Operation Atalanta, as of 29 September 2014.[24] Operation Atalanta has the task force designator Task Force 465.[25]

Country Vessel Type
 Italy ITS Andrea Doria (D 553) Horizon Class Destroyer
 Belgium BNS Leopold (F 930) Karel Doorman Class Frigate
 Germany FGS Berlin (A 1411) Berlin Class Combat Support Ship
 Netherlands HNLMS Van Speijk (F 828) Karel Doorman Class Frigate
 Spain ESPS Navarra (F85) Santa Maria-class Frigate

Aircraft[edit]

As of 29 September 2014 the following aircraft are currently deployed with the European Union Naval Force - Operation Atalanta.[26]

Country Aircraft Type
 Spain Lockheed P-3M Orion Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft
 Germany Lockheed P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft
 New Zealand Lockheed P-3K2 Orion Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft

Vessels and aircraft in former rotation periods[edit]

ITS Maestrale frigate.

The following vessels have, among others, been committed to the Operation as of 25 March 2011.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "EU naval operation against piracy (EUNAVFOR Somalia - Operation ATALANTA)". EU Council Secretariat. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Mission". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "EU Extends Counter-piracy Operations Off Somalia By Two More Years". RTT News. 23 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "GGI Analysis: The Somali crisis and the EU". Global Governance Institute. 24 July 2012. 
  5. ^ MSCHOA: About us
  6. ^ a b c "Lithuania will take part in the EU counterpiracy Operation ATALANTA". Ministry of National Defense Republic of Lithuania. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Starr, Barbara (29 October 2007). "U.S. destroyer pursuing hijacked ship in Somali waters, military says". CNN. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Rankin, Nick (11 March 2008). "No vessel is safe from modern pirates". BBC News. Retrieved 3 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Hassan, Abdiqani (23 April 2008). "Crew say lucky to be alive after Somali hijack". Reuters Africa. Retrieved 25 April 2008. 
  10. ^ United Nations Security Council Verbatim Report 5902. S/PV/5902 2 June 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  11. ^ " Navies to tackle Somali pirates", BBC News, 2 June 2008
  12. ^ "France captures 'Somali pirates'", BBC News, 2 January 2009
  13. ^ " EU expects Swiss troops for anti-pirate force", Swiss Info, 18 February
  14. ^ Maritime Security Centre (EU)
  15. ^ "EUNAVFOR Force Headquarters handover ceremony". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  16. ^ Maritime Security Centre (EU)
  17. ^ Dagens Nyheter Video
  18. ^ The Local: Swedish navy arrests pirates off Somali coast
  19. ^ "European naval forces capture more pirates". Independent Online (South Africa). 9 March 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2010. "Six pirate action groups have been intercepted, mother ships and skiffs have been destroyed and over 40 pirates have been taken into custody" 
  20. ^ a b "Russian Destroyer Frees Hijacked Oil Tanker" by Alan Cowell with reporting by Mark McDonald from Hong Kong, The New York Times, 6 May 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2010. An EU-NAVFOR press release on the Russian action was cited in the article.
  21. ^ "Russia Frees Somali Pirates It Had Seized in Shootout" by Ellen Barry, The New York Times, 7 May 2010 (8 May 2010 on p. A4 of the NY ed.). Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  22. ^ a b "Estonia becomes the 26th nation to contribute to EUNAVFOR – Operation ATALANTA". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 6 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  23. ^ "Somali piracy: EU forces in first mainland raid". BBC. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  24. ^ "EU NAVFOR Deployed Units". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  25. ^ United Nations, S/2010/91, p.71
  26. ^ "EU NAVFOR Deployed Units". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 10 August 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "L'opération Atalanta". LePoint.fr. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  28. ^ "EU NAVFOR meets Omani Authorities". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 23 November 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  29. ^ "EU NAVFOR thanks HLMNS AMSTERDAM after more than 2 months of operations". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  30. ^ "Dutch LPD-ship JOHAN DE WITT was a true Force multiplier for EU NAVFOR". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  31. ^ "EU NAVFOR welcomes the Belgium frigate BNS LOUISE-MARIE". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  32. ^ "EU NAVFOR thanks BNS LOUISE-MARIE after three months of operation". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  33. ^ "EU NAVFOR thanks ITS LIBECCIO after 125 days in Operation ATALANTA". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  34. ^ "EU NAVFOR welcomes the Italian warship ITS ZEFFIRO". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  35. ^ "Italian frigate ZEFFIRO leaves EU NAVFOR after two months of valuable contribution". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  36. ^ a b (French) Journaux de bord - Marine nationale
  37. ^ "EUNAVFOR welcomes the French frigate ACONIT". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  38. ^ "French frigate ACONIT leaves EU NAVFOR after one month of outstanding performance". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  39. ^ "EU NAVFOR thanks FS GUÉPRATTE after two months: "Always proactive" says Force Commander". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 26 July 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  40. ^ "EUNAVFOR thanks French warship FS DE GRASSE after 4 months of operations". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  41. ^ "Warship Floréal captures suspected pirates". European Commission. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  42. ^ "EUNAVFOR thanks FS FLOREAL after three and a half months of operation". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 21 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  43. ^ "French Frigate NIVÔSE departs EU NAVFOR Task Force after a four month deployment". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  44. ^ "EU NAVFOR thanks French frigate Jean Bart: "Successfully accomplished mission"". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  45. ^ "EU NAVFOR welcomes the French warship FS JACOUBET". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  46. ^ "EUNAVFOR thanks FS JACOUBET after one month of operation". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  47. ^ "Spanish frigate VICTORIA leaves EU NAVFOR after four months of excellent service". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  48. ^ "EUNAVFOR thanks SPS INFANTA CRISTINA". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  49. ^ "Spanish OPV Vencedora contributed outstandingly to EU NAVFOR with 85 percent of time on main task". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 29 May 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  50. ^ "The Spanish warship SPS GALICIA leaves EU NAVFOR mission after 82 days on operations". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 21 November 2010. 
  51. ^ "EUNAVFOR welcomes the Spanish Combat Replenishment Ship SPS PATINO". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  52. ^ "EU NAVFOR thanks SPS PATIÑO after one and a half months of operation". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 
  53. ^ a b "EU NAVFOR ship BRANDENBURG leads HANSA STAVANGER safely into Mombasa". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  54. ^ "EU NAVFOR thanks the German frigate FGS SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  55. ^ "The German warship FGS KOELN leaves EU NAVFOR after more than 2 months on operation". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 25 November 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  56. ^ "EU NAVFOR welcomes the German frigate FGS HAMBURG to the Mission". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  57. ^ "German frigate FGS HAMBURG leaves EU NAVFOR after four months of valuable contribution". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  58. ^ "EU NAVFOR German warship FGS RHOEN leaves EU NAVFOR after 102 days of operation". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  59. ^ http://www.eunavfor.eu/2011/04/portuguese-take-command-of-eu-navfor-counter-piracy-taskforce/
  60. ^ http://www.eunavfor.eu/2011/05/eu-navfor-flagship-npr-vasco-da-gama-assists-the-seychelles-coast-guard/
  61. ^ "EU NAVFOR thanks Portuguese Maritime Patrol Aircraft Detachment". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  62. ^ "Pirates release Greek Crude Oil Tanker M/V Maran Centaurus". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  63. ^ "Bulk Carrier Filitsa released by pirates". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  64. ^ "EU NAVFOR warship HS ELLI conducts her final tasks". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  65. ^ "EUNAVFOR thanks HS ADRIAS". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  66. ^ "HS Adrias". Hellenic Frigates Command. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  67. ^ "EU NAVFOR ships BNS LOUISE-MARIE and HSwMS MALMOE escorts vulnerable giant MIGHTY SERVANT 1". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  68. ^ "EU NAVFOR thanks Swedish warship HSwMS CARLSKRONA after 7 months of operations". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  69. ^ "Finnish Navy Ship POHJANMAA joins operation Atalanta". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011. 
  70. ^ Miinalaiva Pohjanmaa päättää tehtävänsä. Iltalehti 30 April 2011. http://www.iltalehti.fi/uutiset/2011043013635718_uu.shtml

External links[edit]