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The little news of the summer at Atalanta

During (my) holidays, the EU anti-piracy operation Atalanta did not stop. Certainly the monsoon has reduced the attacks. But not totally. And, in the meantime, the flagship has changed its flag. In short, summer...


• Sat August 22 (Atalanta UE, Gulf of Aden): 7 disarmed pirates in a combined action EUNAVFOR-Japan

In a combined action between the ships of the European anti-piracy operation Atalanta and the Japanese patrol plane, a suspected pirate skiff was stopped and his 7 pirates apprehended. After being disarmed, they were released (details,)

• Wed August 19 (Denmark / Kenya): agreement between Denmark and Kenya

Danish ships cruising in the Gulf of Aden or the Indian Ocean will no longer be required to release suspects of acts of piracy that they have taken prisoner. Ironically, Norway, which is not part of the EU and participates in Operation Atalanta, is covered by the pirate delivery agreement between the EU and Kenya. While Denmark, which is part of the EU, was not and could not be. Indeed, the country of the "little mermaid" has an "opt-out" (a derogation) in terms of European defense, at the military level, and cannot participate in EU operations without an international agreement. The Absalon (L 16), a Danish support vessel, which took part in the operations of the CTF 150, had to resolve on several occasions to release suspects, for lack of a legal solution (with two exceptions, a surrender to the Yemeni authorities and a transfer to the Netherlands, at the Dutch request).

• Mon August 17 (piracy, NATO): NATO confirms its presence in the Indian Ocean with a new
operation called "Ocean Shield" and an "enhanced mandate".

It is no longer just a question of fighting against piracy as with the "Allied Protector" operation, but of having "a more global approach to the fight against piracy". Concretely, it is a question of strengthening with the neighboring States (NB: Somalia, Seychelles, Yemen, Kenya...) their capacity to fight against piracy. An action also led by the European Union and the European Commission (read: a maritime lanes security program under study). On site, the SNMG2, present since the beginning of July, took over from the SNMG1 since the beginning of July. With the British HMS Cornwall as flagship, the Italian ITS Libeccio, Greek HS Navarinon, Turkish TCG Gediz frigates, and the American destroyer USS Donald Cook.

• Mon August 17 (Atalanta UE, Gulf of Aden): salvage operation in the gulf.

The French frigate La Fayette (F-710) which is taking part in the EU operation "Atalanta" comes to the rescue of a boat in difficulty about 100 miles southeast of Al Makalla in the Gulf of Aden . Out of diesel, this boat with 48 people on board drifted for several days before being spotted by a helicopter. The people were hoisted aboard the Lafayette and handed over to the Yemeni coast guard (with the agreement of that country, an agreement facilitated by the presence of two Yemeni liaison officers on board the La Fayette). Photo credit: Atalanta

• Fri August 14 (piracy, EU / NATO): pirate attack foiled by two Atalanta/NATO frigates

The German frigate "Bremen" (operation Atalanta), joined by the Greek frigate "Navarion" (which participates in the NATO operation, succeeds in foiling an attack against a Turkish merchant ship (Elginnur Cebi), in the early hours of morning. The incident occurred in the international transit corridor in the Gulf of Aden, at the position 12.36 North 47.26 East. The pirates, numbering 5 or 6, broke off their pursuit after a warning shot from the German helicopter The Greek frigate had launched one of its approach teams.

• Mon 10 August (Atalanta UE / Spain): spanish relay in the indian ocean

The Spanish frigate"Canary Islands"departs from its home port, La Rota, in Spain, to go to the Indian Ocean to relieve the frigate Numancia, which is taking part in the European anti-piracy operation "Atalanta". "Canarias" has a crew of 193 people (including 44 are women) as well as a team of 16 Marine commandos (16) and two Sikorsky SH60 helicopters with their team of pilots and mechanics of 19. She must stay 4 months in the theater of operation.

• Sun August 9 (piracy / Gulf of Aden): Italian tug release

The Italian tug "Buccaneer" - in the hands of pirates since April 11 - is released with its 16 crew. These are doing "well" according to the special forces of the "San Giorgio", the Italian military frigate which went to meet them. The Puntland authorities had explained the "arrest" of the ship because it was carrying illegal waste. Hypothesis rejected by the Italian authorities and those of the ship. The question of the payment of a ransom is still debated in Italy. The Italian government denies, in fact, the payment of a ransom of 4 million dollars (as one of the hackers said). He sticks to his initial position "no military intervention, no ransom payment". The official version is: "the pirates withdrew, allowing the release of the hostages" (read the press release, in Italian).

• Sat August 8 (France / Djibouti): new French chef in Djibouti

General (**) Thierry Caspar-Fille-Lambie takes command of the French forces stationed in Djibouti (FFDJ). An essential position in the European anti-piracy system: it is the closest to the area, it serves as a logistical supply point for most boats, it is the place where Somali security forces are trained (which should begin in September ). It is also the largest French deployment outside the territory (2900 soldiers permanently). He succeeds Air Brigadier General Philippe Lefort.

• Tue 4 August (Atalanta EU / Croatia): the Official Journal publishes theagreement between the European Union and Croatia for participation in the EU anti-piracy operation off Somalia (Atalanta). Details.

• Tue August 4 (France / Indian Ocean): change of direction at Alindien

French Rear Admiral Bruno Nielly, who until now was Chief of Staff to General Bentegeat, Chairman of the EU Military Committee, is taking up his new post as ALINDIEN (Commander of the Indian Ocean Maritime Zone). He succeeds Vice-Admiral Gérard Valin, in office since February 2008.

• Tue August 4 (piracy / Gulf of Aden): pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden

A merchant ship is attacked at 13:45 (GMT) by a skiff with 7-8 pirates on board in position 13.29 N, 48.45 E. The attack is foiled.

• Mon 3 August (Atalanta UE / Netherlands): relieves the flagship of Eunavfor

The Dutch ship HMS Evertsen takes over as flagship of the Numancia for the European anti-piracy operation, "Eunavfor Atalanta".

• Mon August 3 (Indian Ocean / EU): liberation of a German ship

The German Merchant Ship MV Hansa Stavanger is released after 4 months of detention. It is escorted by two Atalanta frigates (Dutch and German). He had been captured about 400 miles from the Somali port of Kismayo on April 4. (photo credit: EUNAVFOR)

• Fri August 1 (Atalanta EU / Norway): the Norwegian ship of Eunavfor en route to Suez

The Norwegian frigate"Fridtjof Nansen" (F-310) departs from Norway to join the European anti-piracy operation "Eunavfor Atalanta" in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. (photo credit - Norska Försvaret).

• Thu 30 July (Atalanta EU / Seychelles): Draft agreement with the Seychelles

EU external relations specialists are finalizing a draft Sofa agreement (presence of troops) and the transfer of pirates to the Seychelles.

• Thu 30 July (Indian Ocean/NATO): 9 Hackers Arrested by NATO Turks

The Turkish frigate Gediz – which is part of one of NATO's permanent maritime groupings which take turns in the Indian Ocean – arrests 9 other pirates in addition to the 5 already captured on 24 July.

• Fri July 24 (Atalanta UE): Numancia near the fishermen

The Spanish vessel Numancia is patrolling the waters near the Seychelles to ensure the safety of the mainly numerous Spanish and French fishermen in the area. The commander of the operation, Juan Garat Carame meets the crew of the Campolibre Alai.

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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