EU NAVFOR Op Atalanta mission launchDecember 9, 2008 - 15:03
The European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Anti Piracy Operation off the coast of Somalia named Op Atalanta was formally launched this morning at press conference attended by Jean Christof Belliard the EU Special Advisor on African Affairs and the Operation’s Commander Rear Admiral Phillip Jones from the UK Navy.
The Operation has been established in support of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Resolutions 1814, 1816, 1838 and 1846 (2008) and will complete the following specific tasks during period of the operation:
- the protection of vessels of the WFP (World Food Programme) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia,
- the protection of vulnerable vessels cruising off the Somali coast,
- the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast.
It is the first EU maritime operation, and is being conducted with in the framework of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and is part of the EU’s wider economic and political commitment to the region.
- EU Operation Commander – Rear Admiral Phillip Jones, UK Navy
- Deputy Operational Commander – Le Contre Amiral Jean-Pierre Labonne, French Navy
- EU Force Commander at Sea – Commodore Antonios Papaioannou, Hellenic Navy
The operation, which has been established for 12 months with a Headquarters in Northwood, (West London) United Kingdom, will command a force of up to 6 ships and 3 maritime patrol aircraft. In the first 4 month phase of the Operation, force contributions are expected to be made by the United Kingdom, France, Greece, Spain and Germany and approximately 1200 people will be taking part in the Operation at any one time.
It will also have the authority to liaise with other organisations and States, working in the region to combat acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast.
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