(B2) EUNAVFOR Atalanta, the EU maritime operation fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia is now officially commanded from Rota in Spain
This base - the main Spanish Armada located near Cadiz - was the scene of a simple, but symbolic ceremony, sealing the transfer of the multinational staff of Atalanta (a hundred people) from its HQ Originally from Northwood in the UK.
NB: this handover due to Brexit had been planned since last summer by a decision formalizing the British withdrawal at 12 p.m. sharp - Paris time. (Read : Revenge of Trafalgar). The postponement of the Brexit date by the last European Council at the end of March has not changed anything.
A smooth transition
British General of the Royal Marines Charlie Stickland thus entrusted his post to his Spanish counterpart, Vice-Admiral Antonio Martorell, symbolically entrusting him with the European flag. The Spaniard assured that the transition was made " in the best way ". A process he described to B2 a year ago (read: Rota HQ will be operational from January 2019 (Admiral Martorell)). Ceremony in itself moving because it is not only about a change of head to an operation, but the departure of a whole country...
A major success for Spain
« For Spain, it is an unprecedented success “, assures the Chief of the Spanish General Staff, General Fernando Alejandre, who presided over the ceremony, thus taking up a leitmotif pronounced for several months by political leaders (Read: Spain makes a 'clear and unequivocal bet' for the Common Security and Defense Policy (Margarita Robles)
France more discreet
The operation's maritime security center, the Maritime Security Center Horn of Africa (MSC HoA), has taken up residence in Brest. Much more discreetly. Only one communicated was made public by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces. However, it plays an irreplaceable role as an interface between the Atalanta military and the merchant maritime world.
- UK lowers European flag over Northwood
- Operation Atalanta comes under Spanish… and French command
- Atalanta HQ will be transferred from Northwood to Rota. Viva Spain
- Maritime piracy. Brest MICA ready to host MSCHOA and take over from Northwood