EU anti-piracy mission led by Portugal till December

Commodore Marcelo Correia will lead the EU’s Operation Atalanta till December, a naval pressure which goals to forestall piracy and trafficking within the Somali Basin and has seized round 12 tons of medication since March.

The forty first rotation of Operation Atalanta, which ends on December 2, concerned six Portuguese naval personnel, together with Commodore Marcelo Correia, who took command of the mission on Thursday.

In whole, the pressure consists of 18 troopers from eight nationalities: Portugal, Spain, Italy, Serbia and Monte Negro, the Republic of Korea, Colombia and Djibouti, “with the participation of the latter three as a result of bilateral agreements with the European Union,” mentioned Commodore Marcelo Correia.

Speaking to Lusa, Correia mentioned that the most important targets of “Operation Atalanta are the deterrence, prevention and suppression of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin”, which additionally contributes “to growing maritime safety within the area by the duties of monitoring drug trafficking, weapons, unlawful, unreported and unregulated fishing and unlawful commerce in coal.

Since February, he added, there’s additionally the opportunity of conducting operations to fight drug trafficking, “with the seizure of about 12 tons of drugs since March of this year is remarkable.”

“No piracy attacks have been recorded since 2019 and this is a clear sign of the effectiveness of the ATALANTA operation, the other forces present in the region and the protection measures adopted by merchant shipping,” he opined.

Another of the targets of this EU mission is the safety of the ships underneath the ‘World Food Programme’ [World Food Programme]a humanitarian support group underneath the UN, based in 1961 and financed by voluntary contributions from governments, establishments, firms or particular person residents.

“Protection of WFP-chartered ships can be done in three ways, depending on the vulnerability assessment of each vessel. This can be done by simply monitoring the movements of the ship, a close escort or the boarding of a security team that can integrate the operation for this purpose,” he elaborated.

Asked in regards to the most important difficulties he expects in the approaching months at sea, the commodore talked about the scale of the realm “which represents almost twice the area of ​​the EU countries”, the pandemic of covid-19, “that requires permanent measures for to mitigate the risk of contagion” or “the volatility and fragility of the security situation in the region, linked to the drought felt in Somalia and the resulting lack of food”, which “could promote the resurgence of piracy”.

He additionally pressured “the potential impact that the war in Ukraine could have, especially with the possible increase in maritime traffic in the region”, and warned {that a} “false notion of the whole eradication of piracy may lead to a discount within the adoption of protecting measures from service provider transport, growing its vulnerability”.

The pressure at the moment consists of the Spanish frigate Numancia, the flagship, the Italian frigate Fasan and an airborne detachment with a Spanish maritime patrol plane working from Djibouti, the Portuguese commodore mentioned, including that “at the top of this month, a Spanish particular operations activity pressure joins the pressure.

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