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The Swedes prepare for the Atalanta mission


(B2)A Swedish officer, Johan Spåhl, from the third naval squadron in Karlskrona, spent two months aboard the Danish ship Absalon engaged in the anti-piracy fight, listed as CTF-150 (the Danes led the coalition). Sweden must, in fact, participate in operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta (EU) with 150 sailors, two corvettes and a support ship. The Swedish representative to the Politics and Security Committee confirmed it again this week (the Minister of Defense had already announced it in November, read our first list). And, taking advantage of their good cooperation with the Danes, the Swedes decided to prepare for their participation in the EU operation Atalanta.

Turbulent times. These two months, says Spåhl, were “eventful with lots of experiences” at several points. The Danish ship was, in fact, particularly active in the area, intervening on several occasions (see the first assessment trained). “At one point it was particularly dramatic. When we received a distress call from a Dutch merchant ship. The Absalon helicopter was dispatched and fired warning shots. Additionally, a rocket was fired from the attacked ship. A fire then broke out aboard the pirate ship and forced the five suspects to jump into the water. They were recaptured and detained on board Absalon, pending consideration of the legal consequences of their actions. (this testimony was collected before the outcome of the affair, the Netherlands having requested theextradition of pirates in Denmark).

Useful lessons. Certainly, certain data collected on the Absalon differ from the mission that the Swedes will have to carry out, in particular for accompanying the boats of the World Food Program (WFP), the maritime zones not being the same - between the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Somalia. But for Swedish sailors, this observation mission is very “useful for further planning of the operation“. Particularly regarding the behavior of fishermen. “They generally fish in groups, with a larger mother boat and two smaller ones which will collect the fish in the nets.. A method very close to that used by pirates (unless it is the opposite). From where "numerous false alarms. The behavior of peaceful fishing boats having been perceived as a threat by merchant ships”.

The Swedes are particularly active at the level of external defense interventions (EU, UN, EC, NATO). It will be a suédois who will lead the Minurcat II – the UN military operation which will take over from EUFOR in Chad and the Central African Republic. It is also a Swede who is assistant to an American on the C-17 aircraft pool of NATO (although the country is not a member of the Euro-Atlantic organization). At the European level, Sweden also very quickly sent, as part of the European civil protection mechanism, an SAS plane during the Bombay bombings, to evacuate several wounded Europeans. An activism that corresponds to Sweden's military rank (the country is part of the Top 6 states in military matters) but also to more political imperatives. Sweden takes over the presidency of the EU in the second half of 2 (see calendar). An internal campaign was led for NATO membership. And its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, is a candidate for one of the leading European positions (the post of High Representative for Foreign Affairs in particular).

(NGV)

(photo: Swedish Navy)

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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