Spain Hands Over Force Command of Operation Atalanta to ItalyOctober 8, 2015 - 09:46
Earlier today, Thursday 08 October, Rear Admiral Alfonso Gòmez Fernandez de Cordoba, (Spanish Navy), handed over the Force Command of the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta, to Rear Admiral Stefano Barbieri (Italian Navy) at sea in the Gulf of Aden.
During Rear Admiral de Cordoba’s time as Force Commander, the EU Naval Force continued to deter acts of piracy, strengthened cooperation with counter-piracy partners and helped to develop the maritime capacity building programme with regional states.
Rear Admiral Barbieri will initially command the EU Naval Force from Italian Warship, ITS Libeccio. In the coming weeks he will transfer his command to ITS Carabiniere.
Speaking about his new command, Rear Admiral Barbieri, who has also commanded ITS Libeccio and aircraft carrier, ITS Cavour, stated: “Whilst there have been no successful acts of piracy recently, this does not mean that the threat from piracy has gone away. The situation in Somalia is still fragile. We must remain vigilant and continue to work together to ensure that the pirates are not given the opportunity to get out to sea and attack merchant ships and their crews for ransom.”
Operation Atalanta’s main tasks are: to protect merchant vessels carrying World Food Programme (WFP) humanitarian aid for the Somali people and AMISOM ships from pirate attack, deter acts of piracy and monitor fishing activity off the coast of Somalia. When requested to do so, and within means and capabilities, EU Naval Force warships also support other EU missions and international organisations, such as the UN, that are working to strengthen maritime security and capacity in the region.
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