UK Navy Chief visits EU NAVFOR HeadquartersMarch 5, 2010 - 15:32
Today, Thursday 4 March 2010, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope KCB OBE ADC, the First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy visited the Headquarters of the EU Naval Force Somalia – Operation Atalanta.
This informal visit was the first time that the First Sea Lord had visited the purpose built Headquarters from where the EU Operation Atalanta is run. The Admiral was extremely impressed with the facilities and was pleased to see the EU multinational HQ in full operation. Admiral Stanhope stated that “this is a very important multinational operation for the UK to be part of and stands alongside the contributions that the Royal Navy is making to the other anti piracy forces in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean”.
EU NAVFOR was established in late 2008 after the problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean escalated out of control. The EU Council, under French presidency decided to take action. Consequently, in October that year, the Commander UK Maritime Forces (COMUKMARFOR) was selected to lead the EU’s first maritime mission under European Security and Defence Policy and the United Kingdom offered their Operational Headquarters in Northwood, near London. Rear Admiral Peter Hudson CBE is the current Operational Commander. Captain Paul Chivers OBE, who accompanied Admiral Stanhope, is the Headquarter’s Chief of Staff.
The Royal Navy has fully engaged with both EU NAVFOR and other international efforts, including NATO and Coalition Maritime Forces, to counter Somali based piracy in the GOA and the Indian Ocean.
EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation ATALANTA’s main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the ‘World Food Program’ (WFP) and vessels of AMISOM, and to protect vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy. EU NAVFOR also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.
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