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European anti-piracy forces deployed in the Indian Ocean (Dec. 2010)

It's time to take over in the Indian Ocean for the European anti-piracy mission Eunavfor Atalanta. The French vice-admiral Coindreau, ceding command of the force in the area to a Spanish rear-admiral, Juan Rodríguez Garat, embarked aboard the Patino. The forces in the area will be made up of Spanish, Italian, French, German and Belgian ships, later joined by a Finnish one. On the air side, we can count on a Spanish P3 Orion, the Luxembourg Merlin III and a French plane (Falcon or Atlantique II depending on availability).

• Supply and support vessel Patino A-14 (Spain). Entered into service in 1995, it has a capacity of 7 million liters of marine diesel and 2 million liters of aviation fuel, 200 tonnes of drinking water, 115 m3 of food and 68 m3 of refrigerated food. It is equipped with three semi-rigid boats (RHIB) and two Sea-King SH3D helicopters, it has a field hospital with 8 beds (including 4 in intensive care), equipped with a radiology room, sterilization, surgery, satellite telemedicine. With a crew of 210 people (187 men and 23 women), it takes on board the force headquarters (COMEUNAVFOR) which includes 8 nationalities, an air unit, a marine infantry operational team, medical personnel, a translator, a priest. It will have a Croatian officer on board. NB: Patino participated in Operation “Sharp Guard” to support the embargo in former Yugoslavia in 1996, and Operation “Allied Action” during the Kosovo crisis in 1998.

• Frigate Louise Marie F-931 (Belgium). Multifunctional frigate (anti-submarine, anti-aircraft, surface ships), acquired by Belgium recently (in April 2008), from the Dutch navy (as part of a Benelux cooperation contract). Weighing 3300 tonnes, it can travel at 21 knots. Crew of 145 sailors. She remained in the operation until mid-January 2011. Commander: Commander Carl Gillis

• Frigate Hamburg F-220 (Germany). Latest generation frigate (Sachsen class, 124), 5.600 tons, speed: 29 knots, 255 soldiers on board. Commander: Frank Schwarzhuber.

• VPD (Estonia). An Estonian ship protection detachment will take part in the operation aboard the German ship Hamburg. This will be Estonia's first operational participation in Operation Atalanta (1).

• Frigate Floreal, relieved at Christmas by the frigate Montcalm D-642 (France). F70 type anti-submarine frigate, commissioned in 1982, the Montcalm has a 45-day autonomy. Length: 139 meters, 4.830 tons, speed: 21 knots. It can carry 2 helicopters WG-13 LYNX. Crew: 244 sailors, men and women (22 officers, including 4 pilots, 145 petty officers, 77 quartermasters and sailors). Commander: Captain Guillaume Chové.

• the EV opinion Jacoubet F-794 (France). Aviso type 69, dedicated to underwater warfare in coastal waters, commissioned in 1982. Length: 80 meters, 1.410 tons at full load, speed: 24 knots. It can be armed with 4 missiles Exocet mer-mer 40, has a double ramp Sinbad for missiles Mistral, a 100 mm AA turret Male 68, two 20 mm AA guns F2, 4 machine guns of 12,7 mm and 4 torpedo tubes of 550 mm L 5 mod 4. Crew of 89 sailors (7 officers, 58 petty officers, 24 quartermasters and ratings). Commander: Lieutenant Commander Pierre Lachard.

• STIs Zephyr F-577 (Italy). Italian frigate, Maestrale class, commissioned in 1984, 3.000 tons, length 123 meters, maximum speed: 32 knots. Crew of 223 men and women (28 officers, 67 non-commissioned officers, 33 sergeants and 104 sailors). 2 helicopters. Commander: Marco Montoneri. She crossed the Suez Canal on November 27.

Minelayer pohjanmaa 01 (Finland). From January 2011. This will be Finland's first maritime participation in the anti-piracy operation (2). The Pohjanmaa, commissioned in 1979, is the flagship ship of the Finnish fleet. It served as a training ship until 1992. With a length of 79 meters and 1.450 tonnes, it can reach a speed of 18-19 knots. It is equipped with 57 mm and 40 mm Bofors cannons.

Photo credits: Spanish, Belgian, German, French, Italian, Finnish navies. Estonian Ministry of Defense

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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).