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Operation EUNAV Somalia: the accelerated schedule

The Courbet escorting the Yangtze River (Credit: DICOD / FR Ministry of Defense)

(B2)The timetable for the anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia, in application of UN resolutions (EUNAV), is accelerating. The first details of the future Joint Action. NATO dispatches one of its permanent groups, the Indian navy is on deck.

The accelerated schedule.
With the appointment of the head of the military operation, British Vice Admiral Jones, planning work is accelerating for EuNav Somalia. The Joint Action which appoints the head of mission – as well as the Concept of Operation prepared by him which defines the general modalities of the operation – should be adopted simultaneously by October 24, possibly by the silence procedure ( to go faster).

Force generation will begin immediately. The Council of Defense Ministers on November 10 should make it possible to collect the first firm offers and others. In order to be able to complete the operation plan (OpPlan) and obtain the political “green light” for the launch of the operation. By the beginning of December at the latest, according to the objective set by Javier Solana, the high representative.

Five objectives and three deployment zones

European common action should aim at several objectives:
1) the protection of World Food Program ships;
2) the protection of certain merchant ships, with “particular vulnerability or whose cargo is particularly sensitive for Somalia or the economy of the region”;
3) sea surveillance off Somalia;
4) measures to deter acts of piracy or banditry;
5) apprehend the perpetrators of acts of piracy.

The operation should therefore be deployed in three areas: in northern Somalia, near the Red Sea and in the Gulf of Aden (merchant ships); south of Somalia, in the Indian Ocean (PAM boats); around the Seychelles (fishing boats).

EuNavco, the coordination unit, continues its work

… which consists of identifying the military resources on site. Eu Navco plays an interface role between, on the one hand, European shipowners, and on the other hand the Member States which have military maritime assets in the Gulf of Aden or are interested. Last example. The French ship Courbet provided support, from October 12 to 14, for the Yangtze River on the West-East transit in the Gulf of Aden, at the request of its German owner. Another boat “L’intrepide” is being supported at the request of its Maltese owner. In addition to Russia and the United States (CTF150 coalition), several neighboring third countries or those with a large merchant fleet: Egypt, Yemen, India, the Philippines, etc.

INS Tabar (Credit: Indian Navy)

Indian Navy on deck

Indian Defense Minister Pallam Raju has just confirmed to the Indian press his government's desire to engage in the fight against piracy. A statement which comes as the families of the 18 Indian sailors of a Japanese ship MT Stolt Valor, held hostage by the pirates, launched an appeal for help. An Indian Navy ship, the INS Tabar, which was in the area was diverted from its mission to quickly go to the Gulf of Aden, between Salalah, Oman, and Aden, to carry out protection missions. Equipped with a helicopter and marine commandos, he can stay for a month. Other warships could follow and be sent along the African coast. However, India's new anti-piracy strategy does not include pirate hunts. Authorization from the defense, foreign affairs and sea ministries will be required for this type of action. Traffic in this region is vital for India, which sees 90% of its foreign trade transit through the Suez Canal. Around 25 Indian-flagged boats pass through the Gulf of Aden every month.

NATO dispatched one of its permanent groups

The Euro-Atlantic organization has also decided to send one of its permanent maritime groups to the area, the SNMG2, which was to tour the ports of the region (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar), as part of the Istanbul cooperation. This, in order to ensure the relay of the protection of the WFP boats between the Canadians - who end their mission on October 23 - and the arrival of the European force, and in addition to the dutch frigate.

Led by Italian Admiral Giovanni Gumiero, SNMG2 is usually composed of seven ships:
– the ITS Durand de la Penne (flagship ship, destroyer D560)
– FGS Karlsruhe (F212 frigate, Germany)
– FGS Rhön (auxiliary A1443, Germany)
– HS Themistokles (F465 frigate, Greece)
– TCG Gökova (G496 frigate, Türkiye)
– HMS Cumberland (F85 frigate, United Kingdom)
– USS Sullivans (DDG 68 destroyer, United States)


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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