News Blogmaritime piracy

The Atalanta anti-piracy operation. European and third-party device (update 4)

(B2)The operation launched by the European Union on December 8 to fight pirates (EU NAVFOR Atalanta) is now operational. And above all, it seems to be emulated. Since around twenty warships are now in the area (around thirty eventually.

IOC proclaimed

Since the arrival in Djibouti of the Greek command boat, the Psara (December 16), and the authorization given by the Bundestag (December 19) for the engagement of the German frigate, already in the area, the operation has has now reached initial operational capability (IOC). A first support mission took place, which began last Sunday, to accompany a WFP boat.

A very European command

The operation has been commanded by British Rear Admiral Philip Jones since British Northwood Operational Headquarters (OHQ). His deputy is the French Rear Admiral Jean Pierre Labonne (later noted by a German). On site, the force commander (at sea) rotates between Greece, Spain and the Netherlands. Greek Commodore Antonios Papaioannou now commands the force. He must be replaced, in April 2009, by a Spanish officer, then by a senior Dutch officer, from August 2009. The logistics base is located in Djibouti (with around fifteen men).

EU NAVFOR Atalanta lasts a year

The operation is divided more or less into three periods of four months each (December-March, April-July, August-November). It should bring together between 6 to 8 ships, ultimately, 2 to 3 planes, and helicopters (each boat is equipped with them), and around 1200 men. The operation thus starts with 4-5 boats at the beginning (France, United Kingdom, Greece, Germany), 7 boats in May (with Spain and Sweden). The Netherlands and Belgium, taking over later.

First period

La France provides a frigate and an air patrol plane (Bréguet Atlantique 2), as well as various logistical resources from its permanent base in Djibouti. It was the surveillance frigate Nivôse (F-732) which carried out the mission initially until December 15. It is noted by an advisory on Chief Petty Officer L'Her (F-792) until the end of December. And the surveillance frigate Floreal (F-730) – based in Reunion – normally then takes over. The Frigate John of Vienna (D-643) can also intervene as reinforcement.

aviso Premier Maitre l'Her (French navy)

Le United Kingdom provides a frigate, the “HMS Northumberland” (F-238) currently (NB: “HMS Cumberland” (F-85) has returned home).

HMS Northumberland (Royal Navy)

La Greece provides the flagship, a frigate Psara, and his helicopter. Who arrived in the area on December 16. He sailed from Piraeus on December 10 and passed the Suez Canal on December 13.

The Psara

THEGermany provides a frigate, the Karlsruhe (F-212), equipped with two helicopters. Commandos will take place in sensitive merchant ships. Berlin also provides air patrol hours. the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (F-218) which is participating in Operation Enduring Freedom could also be called in as reinforcement. The government made the proposal on Wednesday, and the Bundestag approved this mandate on December 19 (491 votes for CDU-CSU, SPD, FDP – 55 against Die Linke, Die Grüne) – download the mandate (in German). The mandate is valid for a maritime zone of three million km2. It allows a maximum number of 1400 men to be deployed on the operation. “ This gives a little flexibility to carry out our mission explained Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung.

THESpain provides a P3-Orion surveillance aircraft, based in Djibouti. It has already carried out certain protection missions under the national flag in November-December.

Second period

THESpain will provide for the second period, a frigate, Victoria (F-82), as well as a logistic support ship.

La Sweden will send two corvettes (160 men), a support ship, as well as a security force to accompany the WFP ships starting in April. Planning has started and the cost of the operation is estimated at 185 million crowns (approximately 17,3 million euros). The decision must be confirmed by Parliament (at the beginning of the year).

THEItaly could also send a frigate. But the decision is still under discussion in Rome.

Third period

The Netherlands : a frigate Hr.Ms. Evertsen (F-805) with 180 sailors and 25 marine commandos that can be embarked on civilian boats. A regular in this area since he had accompanied the PAM boats from March to June 2008. Then relayed from October to December by the Hr Ms De Ruyter, who has since returned home.

La Belgium provides a frigate, the Louise Marie (F-931), based in Zeebrugge, will join the Dutch ships to reinforce the European force during the third period of the operation, from August to November 2008.

Third country

La participation of third States at Atalanta is not yet really fixed. But the participation of Switzerland could be envisaged (with commandos) and that of Norway had been mentioned at some point.

The United States, Canada, Pakistan, Denmark (*) already have vessels in the area under the counter terrorist coalition CTF 150 (in which the United Kingdom, Germany and France also participate).

Also present in the Gulf of Aden – under national flag (in the absence of integration of certain countries into Atalanta, close coordination should be considered):

• The Russia with the destroyer Neustrachimy / Fearless (712)

• TheIndia sent a destroyer, the Mysore (D-60) – after the INS frigate Tabar – and could send a patrol plane based in Djibouti.

• TheIran has just sent a warship to the Gulf of Aden.

• The China sends three ships – two destroyers and a supply ship. They will depart from its southern coastal port Hainan after Christmas (26th).

• The South Korea could also send a destroyer in 2009, after acceptance by its Parliament.

• Egypt and Ukraine have also indicated they want to send warships.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(*) EU member state, Denmark does not participate in Defense Europe. In this matter, it is therefore considered a 'third country', and a specific agreement must be concluded for its participation.

NB: Updated on December 21.

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).

Comments closed.