|Part of Piracy in Somalia|
Piracy area of interest in the Indian Ocean (2005-2010)
|Commanders and leaders|
| R. Adm. Bob Tarrant,
Operation Commander EU Naval Force
|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.
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. 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. On 16 July 2012, the EU also mandated the EUCAP Nestor mission to build up the maritime capacity of regional navies.
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.
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.
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. In March 2012, it was announced that the Operation Atalanta initiative would be extended until December 2014.
As of January 2011[update] twenty-three EU and four other countries have participated in Operation Atalanta. 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, 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.
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. The government of Puntland has made more progress.
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. 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.
On 2 January 2009, one of the Operation's ships captured eight pirates who were about to board a ship.
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.
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.
|“||In 2010, 72% of pirate attacks have failed, 81% since August. Those results are due to the combination of EUNAVFOR’s action, the application of new concepts of operations, the use, by the maritime community, of systematic security measures on merchant vessels and high-quality cooperation with other naval forces and independent Navies.||”|
—EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta, Force Commander Rear Admiral Philippe Coindreau
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.
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.
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. 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. 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.
In December 2010, Estonia became the 26th nation to contribute to Operation Atalanta. Estonia provided a vessel protection detachment, which initially operated onboard German Frigate FGS Hamburg. In January 2011 Lithuania provided an officer to the operational headquarters.
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.
|France||FS Floréal (F730)||Floréal-class Frigate|
|Germany||FGS Brandenburg (F215)||Brandenburg-class Frigate|
|Germany||FGS Berlin (A1411)||Combat Support Ship Berlin Class|
|Netherlands||HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (F802)||De Zeven Provinciën-class Frigate|
|Spain||ESPS Navarra (F85)||Santa Maria-class Frigate|
|Spain||Lockheed P-3M Orion||Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft|
|Germany||Lockheed P-3C Orion||Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft|
|Luxembourg||Swearingen Merlin||Maritime Patrol Aircraft|
Vessels and aircraft in former rotation periods
- De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate HNLMS De Ruyter (F804), Netherlands
- De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate HNLMS Evertsen (F805), Netherlands
- Replenishment oiler HNLMS Amsterdam (A836), Netherlands
- Rotterdam class amphibious transport dock HNLMS Johan De Witt (L801), Netherlands
- Karel Doorman-class frigate BNS Louise-Marie (F931), Belgium
- Maestrale-class frigate ITS Maestrale (F570), Italy
- Maestrale-class frigate ITS Libeccio (F572), Italy
- Maestrale-class frigate ITS Zeffiro (F577), Italy
- helicopter cruiser FS Jeanne d'Arc (R97), France
- Georges Leygues-class frigate FASM Jean de Vienne (D643), France
- Georges Leygues-class frigate FASM Georges Leygues (D640), France
- La Fayette-class frigate FLF Aconit (F713), France
- La Fayette-class frigate FLF Guépratte (F714), France
- Tourville-class frigate FASM De Grasse (D612)
- Floréal-class frigate FS Floréal (F730), France
- Floréal-class frigate FS Nivôse (F732), France
- Cassard-class frigate FAA Jean Bart (D615), France
- D'Estienne d'Orves-class frigate FS Jacoubet (F794), France
- Santa Maria-class frigate SPS Santa Maria (F81), Spain
- Santa Maria-class frigate SPS Victoria (F82), Spain
- Santa Maria-class frigate SPS Numancia (F83), Spain
- Santa Maria-class frigate SPS Navarra (F85), Spain
- Santa Maria-class frigate SPS Canarias (F86), Spain
- Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate SPS Blas de Lezo (F103), Spain
- Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate SPS Mendez Nuñez (F104), Spain
- Descubierta-class corvette SPS Infanta Elena (P76), Spain
- Descubierta-class corvette SPS Infanta Cristina (P77), Spain
- Descubierta-class corvette SPS Cazadora (P78), Spain
- Descubierta-class corvette SPS Vencedora (P79), Spain
- Galicia-class landing platform dock SPS Galicia (L51), Spain
- Replenishment oiler SPS Patiño (A14), Spain
- Brandenburg-class frigate FGS Brandenburg (F215), Germany
- Brandenburg-class frigate FGS Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (F218), Germany
- Brandenburg-class frigate FGS Schleswig-Holstein (F216), Germany
- Bremen-class frigate FGS Rheinland-Pfalz (F209), Germany
- Bremen-class frigate FGS Köln (F211), Germany
- Sachsen-class frigate FGS Hamburg (F220)
- Rhön-class tanker FGS Rhön (A1443), Germany
- Vasco da Gama-class frigate NRP Vasco da Gama
- Lockheed P-3 Orion P-3C Papa, Portugal
- Type 22-class frigate HMS Cumberland (F85), United Kingdom
- Type 23-class frigate HMS Northumberland (F238), United Kingdom
- Bay-class landing ship RFA Lyme Bay (L3007), United Kingdom
- Hydra-class frigate HS Salamis (F455) Greece 
- Hydra-class frigate HS Psara (F454) Greece
- Elli-class frigate HS Elli (F450), Greece
- Elli-class frigate HS Adrias (F459), Greece
- Stockholm-class corvette HSwMS Stockholm (K11), Sweden
- Stockholm-class corvette HSwMS Malmö (K12), Sweden
- Akademik Shuleykin-class auxiliary vessel HSwMS Trossö (A264), Sweden
- ocean patrol vessel HMS Carlskrona (P04), Sweden
- Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310), Norway - (Non EU member contribution)
- Pohjanmaa class minelayer FNS Pohjanmaa, Finland
- Type 22-class frigate Regele Ferdinand (221), Romania
- Piracy in Somalia
- European Union External Action Service
- EUCAP Nestor
- European Union Training Mission (EUTM)
- Maritime Security Patrol Area
- Combined Task Force 151
- Operation Ocean Shield
- Sebastian Bruns: ATALANTA at three - a success or a failure? Strategic Insights by Risk Intelligece No. 36, 2008, S. 8-12 [Download: http://www.sldinfo.com/wp-content/themes/sldinfo/samples/Strategic_Insights_36.pdf]
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- "GGI Analysis: The Somali crisis and the EU". Global Governance Institute. 24 July 2012.
- MSCHOA: About us
- "Lithuania will take part in the EU counterpiracy Operation ATALANTA". Ministry of National Defense Republic of Lithuania. 4 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
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- " EU expects Swiss troops for anti-pirate force", Swiss Info, 18 February
- Maritime Security Centre (EU)
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- Maritime Security Centre (EU)
- Dagens Nyheter Video
- The Local: Swedish navy arrests pirates off Somali coast
- "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"
- "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.
- "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.
- "Estonia becomes the 26th nation to contribute to EUNAVFOR – Operation ATALANTA". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 6 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
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- "L'opération Atalanta". LePoint.fr. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EU NAVFOR meets Omani Authorities". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 23 November 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EU NAVFOR thanks HLMNS AMSTERDAM after more than 2 months of operations". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "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.
- "EU NAVFOR welcomes the Belgium frigate BNS LOUISE-MARIE". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EU NAVFOR thanks BNS LOUISE-MARIE after three months of operation". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "EU NAVFOR thanks ITS LIBECCIO after 125 days in Operation ATALANTA". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EU NAVFOR welcomes the Italian warship ITS ZEFFIRO". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 3 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "Italian frigate ZEFFIRO leaves EU NAVFOR after two months of valuable contribution". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- (French) Journaux de bord - Marine nationale
- "EUNAVFOR welcomes the French frigate ACONIT". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "French frigate ACONIT leaves EU NAVFOR after one month of outstanding performance". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- "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.
- "EUNAVFOR thanks French warship FS DE GRASSE after 4 months of operations". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 14 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "Warship Floréal captures suspected pirates". European Commission. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EUNAVFOR thanks FS FLOREAL after three and a half months of operation". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 21 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "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.
- "EU NAVFOR thanks French frigate Jean Bart: "Successfully accomplished mission"". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 1 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EU NAVFOR welcomes the French warship FS JACOUBET". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 13 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EUNAVFOR thanks FS JACOUBET after one month of operation". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- "Spanish frigate VICTORIA leaves EU NAVFOR after four months of excellent service". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EUNAVFOR thanks SPS INFANTA CRISTINA". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "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.
- "The Spanish warship SPS GALICIA leaves EU NAVFOR mission after 82 days on operations". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 21 November 2010.
- "EUNAVFOR welcomes the Spanish Combat Replenishment Ship SPS PATINO". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "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.
- "EU NAVFOR ship BRANDENBURG leads HANSA STAVANGER safely into Mombasa". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 18 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EU NAVFOR thanks the German frigate FGS SCHLESWIG HOLSTEIN". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 20 September 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "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.
- "EU NAVFOR welcomes the German frigate FGS HAMBURG to the Mission". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "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.
- "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.
- "EU NAVFOR thanks Portuguese Maritime Patrol Aircraft Detachment". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 23 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "Pirates release Greek Crude Oil Tanker M/V Maran Centaurus". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 18 January 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Bulk Carrier Filitsa released by pirates". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 1 February 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "EU NAVFOR warship HS ELLI conducts her final tasks". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "EUNAVFOR thanks HS ADRIAS". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "HS Adrias". Hellenic Frigates Command. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "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.
- "EU NAVFOR thanks Swedish warship HSwMS CARLSKRONA after 7 months of operations". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "Finnish Navy Ship POHJANMAA joins operation Atalanta". EU NAVFOR Public Affairs Office. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011.
- Miinalaiva Pohjanmaa päättää tehtävänsä. Iltalehti 30 April 2011. http://www.iltalehti.fi/uutiset/2011043013635718_uu.shtml
- European Union Naval Force Somalia - Operation Atalanta
- Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa
- European Union External Action Service
- European Union Naval Force Twitter Page