European Union Naval Force Somalia  Operation ATALANTA 

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Stronger than the Colossal …... Gigantic ……the Oceanic Waves, the European Naval Force in Operation ATALANTA


Interview with the Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force in  Somalia 

With a great honour we present an exclusive interview with the Operation Commander of the European Naval Force in  Somalia  Major General Martin Smith  on the legendary Triumph of the European Union Naval Force in ATALANTA. 

Major General SMITH, Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force 2016 Major General Martin SMITH, the Commander of European Union Naval Force in Operation Atalanta, during a press briefing in Brussels 2016© European Union/European Council.



Interview with the Force Commander in Operation ATALANTA

Force Commander in Operation Atalanta Rear Admiral Jan Kaack EUNAVFOR June 2016


Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack, Force Commander in Operation Atalanta June 2016 © German Navy/Deutschland in der


In the exclusive interview series, this time we have the honour of hearing views  from Force Commander in Operation Atalanta, Rear Admiral Jan C  Kaack on the various aspects of Atalanta and its luminous success.



Interview with Deputy Operation Commander of European Union Naval Force Somalia

In our exclusive interview series, it is a tremendous honour to hear views from Rear Admiral Gonzalez-Aller Lacalle,  Deputy Operation Commander of European Union Naval Force Somalia, on the diverse aspects of the Operation Atalanta and its continuous success.

rear-admiral-gonzalez-aller-eu-navfor-2016 Rear Admiral Gonzalez-Aller Lacalle, Deputy Operation Commander of European Union Naval Force Somalia. August 2016 © Spanish Navy/Deutschland in der Welt





October 2016

French Naval Force in Operation Atalanta-1

The history of France,  like the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and other Europeans echos centuries of successful and highly advanced Naval Forces which reigned…… and has possessed the Oceans and the Seas.                                                                                                              In the recent years– in the European counter-piracy Operation, France has been contributing  a vital part from early 2009.   french-naval-vessel-frigate-la-fayetteFrigate  La Fayette © EU NAVFOR 

On September 28, the French Navy redeployed its Frigate  La Fayette in Operation Atalanta  to join the other European Naval Forces in the EU NAVFOR for the ongoing Operation.  Marking it not the first time, the multi-task Naval vessel carrying the name of  General la Fayette  has been previously in several rotational terms deployed in EU NAVFOR for combating the piracy and reinforcing the Maritime Security in the Indian Oceans and gulf of Aden.   

  1. Additional: Atalanta : Le patrouilleur L’Adroit entre en Atalanta
  2. EU NAVFOR Force Commander Visits French Frigate La Fayette
  3. The Swedish warship Carlskrona to a warm welcome from the French Frigate La Fayette 



October 2016

                              The United States Navy in Operation Atalanta-2

ITS-Carabiniere-approaching-the-USNS-Laramie-for-RAS December 2015 EU NAVFORU.S Naval Replenishment Ship ‘USNS Laramie’ (center) off the Coast of Somalia,  supporting Operation Atalanta. December 17, 2015 © EU NAVFOR

The United States Navy in Operation Atalanta-1




August 2016

The Swedish Naval Leadership in Operation Atalanta

At the end of July on the 29 in the UK HQ Office of the European Naval Force OP. Atalanta, Rear Admiral Cristobal Gonzalez-Aller  from Spanish Navy assumed the leadership of Deputy Operation Commander from Rear Admiral Jonas  Wikstrӧm of Swedish Navy.

Rear Admiral Jonas Wikstrӧm has been the  Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia since January 2016. His outstanding leadership during his term covered the entire aspects of the OP Atalanta and the enhancement of the Maritime Security off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean.

Rear Admiral Jonas Wikstrӧm (right) and Rear Admiral Cristobal Gonzalez-Aller (left) July 2016


Rear Admiral Jonas Wikstrӧm of  Swedish Navy (left) and Rear Admiral Cristobal Gonzalez-Aller of Spanish Navy (right) July 29, 2016 © EU NAVFOR


“It has been a privilege to serve with Operation Atalanta and to meet the Sailors, Marines and Airmen who are working tirelessly on a daily basis to ensure that the humanitarian aid destined for the Somali people, as well as Vessels carrying goods to and from Europe, arrive at their destination safely.  I wish Rear Admiral Gonzalez-Aller and the rest of the Operation Atalanta team the very best of luck – stay steady!”   Expressed  Rear Admiral Wikstrӧm. July 29, 2016 © EU NAVFOR

News from Swedish Armed-Forces 
News from Sweden Mission to NATO               
News from Sweden Ministry of Foreign Affairs



June 2016

The German Navy’s most resourceful Eagle, who flies so high in the day time and in the  shimmering nights.  Puissant and versatile ….a mighty creature whose life has been intertwined with the Oceans…. and the Seas,  ‘the P-3C Orion’ …….. 

Die P-3C „Orion“ kurz vor dem Start in Djibouti BW 2016




…..has left on June 16  the Operational field of the Atalanta in Djibouti,  to  sojourn in its homeland in Germany.

The Bundeswehr has affirmed its plan to redeploy the ‘MPRA’  to Operation Atalanta a few months later, in early September, when it will be most needed.

From 17 June, the Spanish Air Force’s P-3 Aircraft continues the Operation with the Flagship FGS Bayern under the command of Force Commander, Rear Admiral Kaack.

“The MPRA is an extremely flexible asset.  It can be tasked at short notice to provide imagery of a particular area of interest to enable the Force Commander to react to events and keep the waters of the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean safe for all maritime users.  The Gulf of Aden is an immensely important sea area for maritime trade. With over 90% of the world’s merchant shipping transiting by sea every year, much of this through the Gulf of Aden, it is crucial that the area remains safe from pirate attacks.”  emphasized  the EU Naval Force in Operation ATALANTA  15 June 2016 © EUNAVFOR

News from EU NAVAL Force in Operation Atalanta
News from German NAVY
News from UK Royal Navy

*Image the P-3C Orion in Djibouti June 2016 © die Bundeswehr




May 2016

Frigate ESPS Santa Maria of Spain in Operation Atalanta

Frigate ESPS Santa Maria of Spain has been redeployed on the Operation Atalanta on 15th May to stay in the next five months.

Atlantic Ocean (October 22, 2005) - Sailors of Spanish frigate SPS Santa Maria (F-81) prepare to conduct replenishment at sea (RAS) with the Spanish oiler SPS Marques De La Ensenada (A-11) off the coast of Brazil. Naval forces from Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Uruguay and the United States are participating in UNITAS 47-06 Atlantic phase, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored exercise that enhances friendly, mutual cooperation and understanding between participating navies by enhancing interoperability in naval operations among the nations of the Western Hemisphere. Official U.S. Navy Photograph by PH2 (NAO/AW/SW) Michael Sandberg; Fleet Combat Camera, Atlantic.




Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria May 2016 © EUNAVFOR

Described by EU NAVAL Force, Frigate ESPS Santa Maria has a high caliber Operational capabilities including  a unique  Maritime Surveillance and Reconnaissance system, Remotely Piloted Air System, and  the Seahawk Helicopter on board. 

With the arrival of ESPS Santa Maria, the Multitask Warship ESPS Tornado also of Spanish Navy will return to its port in Gran Canaria, after months of successfully conducting counter-privacy Operations in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.

Additional reference:

Spanish Minister of Defense visits EU NAVFOR warship in Djibouti, by EU NAVFOR July 2011


April 2016

Die Bundeswehr in Operation Atalanta-6

The German Navy has achieved 5000 Flying hours for EU Naval Force in Operation Atalanta

German-MPRA-Detachment-reach-5000-flying-hours-for-Op-Atalanta April 8, 2016The German Navy MPRA Team with the Bundeswehr’s Eagle P-3C Orion in Operation Atalanta, Djibouti. April 8,2016 ©EU NAVFOR

As a part of EU Naval Force  since 2008, the German Navy has been playing a crucial role in Operation Atalanta.  Its Naval Eagle P-3C Orion  flies regularly upon the Oceanic waves in patrolling the coast of Somalia  and the gulf of Aden for Maritime Reconnaissance, Transmitting the Intel to the Flagship, currently Frigate Bayern,  for the Force Commander to evaluate…..determine and command the next stage.

On the achievement of imposingly successful– flying 5000 hours in the Operation,  the Commanding Officer of the German Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft ‘MPRA’ Detachment, Lieutenant Commander Kai Hansen,  elaborated:

“5,000 hours in the Air can only be achieved with a Strong Team. The cooperation between Crew, Technicians and Support Staff is excellent and means we can continuously contribute to the Success of the Operation.” © die Bundeswehr/EU NAVFOR April 11,2016     Commander Hansen congratulates the BW Pilots for their reaching 8000 flight in EUNAV April 19,2016


Lieutenant Commander Kai Hansen congratulating the two the Bundeswehr’s Pilots for  their 8000 hours successful fly © die Bundeswehr/Christin Krakow. Djibouti, April 19, 2016

Lieutenant Commander Kai Hansen,  also personally congratulated the two Bundeswehr’s Pilots from the MPRA Team, each with 4000 hours of successfully fly in the Operation Atalanta.




April 2016

Die Bundeswehr in Operation Atalanta-5

On March 23 the German Navy took over the Command Force of the Operation Atalanta which was previously under the Command of Italian Navy.

Op-Atalanta-Deputy-Commander-with-the-outgoing-Force-Commander-left-and-the-incoming-Force-Commander-right 2016




Operation Atalanta Deputy Commander Rear Admiral Jonas Wikstrӧm of Swedish Navy (centre), Rear Admiral Stefano Barbieri of Italian Navy (left) and the Force Commander Rear Admiral Kaack of die Bundeswehr (right) March 23, 2016 ©EU Naval Force

In the next five months Frigate Bayern under the Command of Rear Admiral Jan Kaack  will be the Flagship of Operation Atalanta and continues the EU Naval Force Mission at Sea (the Horn of Africa) and in the Western Indian Ocean. 

Since the launch of the EU Naval Force Operation Atalanta in 2008, the German Navy has been providing:

  • The Frigate Bayern
  • The Maritime Patrol Aircraft P-3C Orion (the Bundeswehr’s Eagle) which flies also for NATO
  • And the Corvette Erfurt

FGS Bayern march 2016 Frigate Bayern March 2016 ©EU Naval Force

“I am proud to take Force Command of Operation Atalanta today. Whilst there have been no successful acts of piracy recently, this does not mean that the threat from piracy has gone away. Übt man genug Druck aus, stoppt die Blutung. Lockert man zu früh, geht es wieder los. Die Fähigkeit und der Wille der Piraten, erneut loszulegen, sind noch da!

“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. I wish Rear Admiral Barbieri and his crew a safe journey home to their families.” ©EU Naval Force/die Bundeswehr.  Elaborated Real Admiral Kaack on the occasion of assuming the Command.

Related news on FGS Bayern on our site:




April 2016

The UK Royal Navy and its Global Leadership

The United Kingdom, with the longest Naval history at Seas and the Oceans from the 9th century onwards, has an exceptional role– an eminent Leadership to exert in European Naval Force in  Operation Atalanta, the EU Naval Force in Operation Sophia, in the NATO’s counter-piracy Mission  Operation Ocean Shield  and in recent NATO Operation in the Aegean Sea.

The Main Missions of the Royal Navy

  • Providing Security at Sea
  • Fostering International l Partnerships
  • Preventing Conflict
  • Maintaining the Readiness for Deployments
  • Protecting the Security of Transportation for UK, Europe and the Allies
  • And Humanitarian Relief Operations

Continue to read



February 2016

European Union Naval Force Somalia – Operation ATALANTA 

was launched in December 2008, within the framework of the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions  and the International Law. With the Comprehensive Approach, the Operational area covers the Southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and a large part of the Indian Ocean, including the Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, the Somalia’s coastal and internal waters.

The Operational Mandate:
To Protect World Food Programme (WFP) Vessels delivering aid to displaced persons in Somalia, and African Union Mission on Somalia (AMISOM) shipping.
•To Deter, prevent and disrupt piracy and armed robbery at Sea
•To Protect vulnerable shipping off the Somali Coast on a case by case basis
•To Supports other EU Missions and International Organisations working to strengthen Maritime Security and capacity in the Region
•In addition, the EU NAVFOR also contributes to the monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia ©EU NAVFOR

The EU NAVFOR is under command of Major General Martin Smith, from the UK Royal Marines.



January 2016

The United Kingdom’s Leadership in Operation Atalanta

   Major General Martin Smith the UK Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon Janurary 2016 The Operation Commander, Major General Martin Smith MBE with the UK Secretary of State for Defence, The Right Honourable Michael Fallon MP. London January 28,2016 ©European Union Naval Force Operation Atalanta

The UK Secretary of State for Defence, The Rt Hon Michael Fallon visited EU NAVFOR’s Operational Headquarters in London. The visit was to ensure the EU Naval Operation of the un-ending UK’s commitment and supports.

Related documents from the UK Parliament:

Follow-up report on the EU’s Operation Atalanta and beyond by the UK House of Lords to be printed 24 July 2012

Twelfth Report Combating Somali Piracy: the EU’s Naval Operation Atalanta, by the UK House of Lords to be printed 6 April 2010




November 2015

Deutsche Marine in Operation Atalanta

German-P-3C-Orion-Delivering-Support-to-ITS-Carabiniere-1024x68323 November 2015 ©EU NAVFOR

The German Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) flied and accomplished its missions– in support of the Flagship the Italian ITS Carabiniere in Operation Atalanta.

The Aircraft has been in Operation in EU Naval Force since 2008. In its latest mission it re-joined the Operation Atalanta in September 2015 under the Commanding Officer, Commander Bodo Ahlers.

In November, the Aircraft conducted successfully several joint Operations with the Italian Carabiniere in Counter-Piracy Mission in the Horne of Africa.

The German Eagle MPRA, has been not only a vital partner in EU Naval Force in Operation Atalanta, but equally important to NATO, in the operation ‘Oceans Shield’




November 2015

The Royal Netherlands Navy in Operation Atalanta


The Royal Netherlands Warship, HNLMS Groningen Friday 27 November 2015 EU NAVFOR
The Royal Netherlands Warship, HNLMS Groningen Friday 27 November ©EU NAVFOR



Since 2008, as  a vital part of EU Naval Force, the Royal Netherlands Navy has been greatly engaged in Operation Atalanta.  

In August 2015, for the first time, the Royal Dutch Navy deployed one of its golden Ace ‘Patrol Vessel HNLMS Groningen’ to EU Naval Force for the ongoing Counter-piracy ‘the Operation Atalanta’. 

In its leading position, the Royal Warship HNLMS Groningen was engaged in: Patrolling the regional water for  maintaining Security and giving protection to ‘ Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN’. And in  the Joint Training and Exercise with the regional Maritime Forces.

On November 27. the Royal Netherlands Warship accomplished its three months period mission and was awarded the Medal of Operation Atalanta.

In the Atalanta Medal Parade ceremony  ‘Commander Hansen’ the Commanding Officer expressed his gratitude to his crew and stated:

“This Medal is a sign of the European Union’s appreciation of your good work and achievements.”    November 2015 © EU NAVFOR





October 2015

Italian Navy has assumed the Force Command of Operation Atalanta

The Force Commander Rear Admiral Barbieri October 2015





The Force Commander Rear Admiral Barbieri  October 8, 2015 ©EU NAVFOR

In an official ceremony Rear Admiral Stefano Barbieri of Italian Navy assumed, from Spain, the Force Command of the EU Naval Force in Operation Atalanta.  

“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.” highlighted Rear Admiral Stefano Barbieri during the ceremony of assuming the Command. October 8, 2016 ©EU NAVFOR

In a few week time, by mid November, the EU Naval Force Flagship will be also handed over to  ITS Carabiniere of Italy.




July 2015

European Union Ambassadors joint visit in EU Naval Force HQ-London

The European Ambassadors visited the EU Naval Force HQ in London and met with Major General Martin Smith MBE, the Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force.

                                      Major General Smith welcomed Ambassadors from EU to the EU Naval Force HQ in London July 16, 2015Major General Smith with the Ambassadors from EU, the EU Naval Force HQ-London July 16, 2015 ©European Union Naval Force

During this meeting, Major General Smith gave briefing to the Ambassadors from European Union States on:

  • The progress made in Operations Atalanta
  • The close partnerships between EU NAVFOR and other EU missions in counter-piracy
  • The cooperation between the EU NAVFOR, and the regional officials

The Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia, also emphasized in his briefing the need for continuation of vigilance at Sea for maintaining the achieved Maritime Security.



May 2015

Spain takes over from Sweden the Command of EU Naval Force

Från vänster: Amiral Överlämningen av befälet för EU Naval Force tar plats på det nederländska flaggskeppet HNLMS JOHAN DE WITT som ligger för ankar i DJIBOUTI.Den svenske styrkechefen Jonas Haggren lämnar över befälet till sin spanske efterträdare Alfonso Gomez de Cordobá. Därmed är EU NAval Force 19:e rotation formellt avlöst.

New Force Commander Rear Admiral Gomez (left) Deputy Commander Rear Admiral Pezzutti (center) and previous Force Commander Rear Admiral Haggren (right) May 6th 2015 ©European Union Naval Force

Rear Admiral Alfonso Gómez from the Spanish Navy assumed the Command of the Operation Atalanta’s Force Headquarters.

During this period, the Operation Atalanta will be carry on from ESPS Galicia warship of the Spanish Navy. Currently there are 14 EU member States participating in the day to day Operation.

“I want to congratulate my predecessor and his crew. Jonas, thank you and Bravo Zulu. I am truly grateful to the EU Member States for appointing me as the Force Commander of Operation Atalanta and I realize that the appointment comes with high responsibility.” elaborated Rear Admiral Gomez during the official ceremony.



February 2015

The Royal Swedish Navy in European Naval Force

On February 16th , Rear Admiral Thörnqvist visited the EU Naval Force Headquarters in London and met with the Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force, Major General Martin Smith MBE, and several other high ranking Military Commanders.

                                      Rear Admiral Thörnqvist visited EU Naval Force Operational Headquarters in London February 2015 The Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force Major General Martin Smith MBE (right) Rear Admiral Jan Thörnqvist(second from right) Deputy Commander of the EU Naval Force Rear Admiral Paolo Pezzutti (third from right) Deputy Chief of Staff from NATO Commondore Arian Minderhoud (fourth from right) London, March 2015 ©EU NAVFOR

He also met with the Swedish Military personnel and the International Military staff working at the Headquarters.
During this visit Rear Admiral Thörnqvist was briefed about the progress made thus far, and the planning ahead for the Counter-Piracy Mission in the ‘Operation Atalanta’

In the February 2015, the Royal Swedish Navy has assumed also the Command of the EU Naval Force in ‘Operation Atalanta’ for the second time.




February 2015

European Naval Force in Operation Atalanta-2

On February 13th, Rear Admiral Haggren from the Royal Swedish Navy has assumed Command of the EU Naval Force at the Sea in Operation Atalanta.

The new Commander of EU Naval Force Rear Admiral Jonas Haggren of (right)February 2015The new Commander Rear Admiral Jonas Haggren (right)with Rear Admiral Paolo Pezzutti (centre) and Rear Admiral Guido Rando the Deputy Commander of the EU Naval Force (left) February 2015 ©European Union Naval Force Operation Atalanta

This transferring Command makes the second time for the Royal Swedish Navy to be in Command of the Counter-Piracy Task Force on the coast of Somalia.

“I am looking forward to this important role and am confident that we will do our very best to support the operation.” elaborated Rear Admiral Haggren in his speech during the ceremony.

As the new Commander of the Operation, in one of his first official tour Rear Admiral Haggren visited ‘Frigate FGS Bayern’ from the German Navy on February 24th. His visit was warmly welcomed by the Commanding Officer Commander Frank Fahnrich and the crews.

Commander, Rear Admiral Haggren, visited German Navy frigate, FGS Bayern February 2015Commander Rear Admiral Jonas Haggren during his visit the German Navy Frigate, FGS Bayern February 2015 ©European Union Naval Force Operation Atalanta

The EU Naval Force for Operation Atalanta is the largest combined European Naval forces that are working in unison for Counter-Piracy in the coast of Somalia. The mission was established under UN Security Council and was mandated and set into Operation since December 2008.

In November 2014 the Council of European Union announced the extension of the mandate for Operation Atalanta until 12 December 2016.

There are currently 21 EU States and 2 non-EU States are taking part in this Mission.

See also die Bundeswehr’s engagement in Operation Atalanta



































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