chain of command

Major General Antonio Planells Palau

MG Antonio Planells Palau was born in Madrid on August 16th 1959. He joined the Spanish Navy on August 16th 1978 graduating as First Lieutenant (Marine Corps) on July 16th 1983. In July 1986 he was promoted to Captain. Subsequent promotions dates include: Major (October 1995), Lieutenant-Colonel (July 2001), Colonel (July 2009), Brigadier General on March 22nd 2014 and Major General on January 12th 2018.

His professional career includes, among other posts: First Lieutenant in the Royal Guards (Guardia Real) and the “Tercio de Armada” Fire Support Acquisition & Control Squad. As Captain he was in charge of the Madrid Security Company and later assigned to the Operations Platoon of the Reinforced Landing Group. He also served in the 1st Landing Battalion embarking in the Landing Flotilla Staff and the attack transport ship “ARAGON.” As Major, he was posted to the Spanish Navy Studies Commission, the Marine Corps General Headquarters and appointed Logistics Chief of the Marine Corps Brigade. As Lieutenant-Colonel he was Technical Advisor in the Chief of the Defence Staff Inner Cabinet, Chief of Staff of the “Tercio de Armada,” and First Liaison Officer of the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico (Virginia). As Colonel he was assigned to the Marine Corps Force Staff as Chief of the Plans Section, and was subsequently appointed Director of the Chief of Naval Staff (AJEMA) Inner Cabinet.

From 4th September 2015 until 12th January 2018 he commanded the Amphibious Brigade “Tercio de Armada.”
On the 16th of January 2018 he was appointed Commander of the Spanish Marine Corps. Major General Planells’ international assignments include: United Nations Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA) in 1990, and commanding officer (Major) of a Marine Corps Tactical Sub-group in Bosnia-Herzegovina (SFOR) in 1999.

Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Operation Commander (Op Comd) commands the operation from the Operational Headquarters (OHQ) at Rota, Spain. There he plans and conducts the operation in conjunction with the political and military authorities of the European Union.


Rear Admiral (L.H.) Wilhelm Tobias Abry

Rear Admiral (L.H.) Wilhelm Tobias Abry was born on the 8th of August 1968 . He joined the German Navy in 1988, and on completion of his initial officer training at the Naval Academy Mürwik he studied political sciences and international law at the Bundeswehr University. He holds a Master of Political Science and Public Affairs.

His early sea assignments included Operations Officer, Executive Officer on board several Fast Patrol Boats in the German Navy. On completion of the Principal Warfare Course, RAdm (LH) Abry assumed Command of the Fast Patrol Boat S72-PUMA, and was deployed in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (TF 150) in the Horn of Africa region in 2002.   As Executive Officer Frigate KARLSRUHE he was also deployed in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (TF 150). During his Command of Frigate NIEDERSACHSEN he participated in Operation ATALANTA in 2011.  RAdm (LH) Abry was the Head of Maritime Battle Staff Flotilla 2 in 2014, and during this appointment he rejoined Operation ATALANTA as Chief of Staff Force HQ EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA in 2014/15.

On land, he held various staff positions including Flag Lieutenant to the Head of the Naval Office, Desk officer Operations and Military Policy within the Ministry of Defense.  In NATO,  RAdm (LH) Abry  was desk officer in Operations Division of the Internationals Military Staff NATO HQ, and finally Assistant Chief of Staff of Staff Joint Assessment NATO Joint Force Command in Brunssum, Netherlands.  His last assignment in the Ministry of Defense was Branch Chief Central Affairs in the Office of the Chief of Defense. In 2018 he was appointed as the Commander of the Naval Academy.

Currently, Rear Admiral (LH) Abry is serving in Rota, Spain as Deputy Commander of the European Union counter-piracy operation, EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA.

Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Deputy Operation Commander (DCom) exercises command in absence of the Operation Commander.


Captain Massimiliano SIRAGUSA

Massimiliano (Max) SIRAGUSA is the EUNAVFOR Atalanta Force HQs Chief of Staff since 14th February 2020, acting Force Commander since 17th March.

He was born in Rapallo, Genova district of Italy, in 1973 and grew up in Rome. He is a 1995 graduate of the Naval Academy earning a bachelor of Naval and Maritime Sciences, later on, he spent a decade at sea sailing on Surface Ships employed in Navigation and Combat Information Center related billets.

Selected in 1998 for a Personnel Exchange Program with the US Navy, he was assigned as Combat Gun Division Officer to USS Valley Forge, a Cruiser that deployed to the Persian Gulf with the USS Lincoln Battle Group for 6 months. He qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer and was awarded with the United States Navy Achievement Medal.

In 2001, selected for a Personnel Exchange Program with the Spanish Navy, he embarked on the Frigate SPS Navarra where he worked as Navigator and N3 Division Officer in the Spanish Staff that commanded TF 150 in Operation Enduring Freedom. For his commitment and overall performance, he was awarded with the Spanish “Cruz al Merito Naval”.

Selected for his first Command billet he served on board Mine Hunter ITS Termoli, taking part in Multinational Exercises, performing real life submerged ordnance disposal and cooperating with the Archeology Ministery for underwater searches. Soon after, he moved to shore duty in the Defence General Staff, working in the Telecommunications Systems Department. There he had the opportunity to take part in NATO and Multinational Working Groups studying new technologies.

Promoted Lt Cdr in 2007, he was transferred back to Navy billets in the Italian Maritime Forces Command, where he mainly took care of NATO/Multinational activity planning. He has been the project Officer of the Maritime Component Staff preparation for the NATO Response Force stand-by period for rotations 13 and 14 (July 2009 – June 2010).

In 2010 he attended the Spanish Defence Joint Staff Course, where he performed as the best foreign military student. Promoted Commander upon graduation, he reported to Frigate ITS Aliseo as Executive Officer, becoming the Commanding Officer since July 2013. Under his Command the Ship took part five times to Mare Nostrum Operation saving more than 4500 immigrants lives in the Mediterranean Sea and capturing two mother ships, and bringing to justice 31 criminals responsible for engaging in human trafficking.

Since September 2014 he has been appointed as ACOS N357 for the Italian 2nd Naval Group & ACOS N3 for the Italian Maritime Forces Command. He participated in several Joint and Combined Exercises in the National and NATO environments; for three months he served as the Force HQ ACOS CJ3 for EUNAVFOR Med Operation on board ITS Cavour, then he moved to the same operation Strategic HQ working as ACOS CJ35 for additional nine months. He has been promoted to Captain in 2018.

In his previous assignment he was a trainer at the Italian Naval Staff College, located in Venice, first in charge of the Communication Division and then Courses Department Head.

Max Siragusa is married with Rossella and they have three children: Francesco (2008), Gabriel (2010) and Bernadette (2013); he speaks English and Spanish fluently; his hobbies are travelling with his family and open air sport activities.

Acting Force Commander

The Force Commander (FCdr) exercises command and control of all military forces in the area of operation: Spanish Frigate Numancia, Italian Frigate Carlo Bergamini, German and Spanish Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircrafts (Cisne and Jester), Scan Eagle Dron and Serbian Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment on board WFP vessel.


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