News BlogMissions Operationsmaritime piracy

EUNAVFOR Atalanta. The Bundeswehr reviews its system in the Indian Ocean

(B2) This is the end of a commitment which began at the beginning of the European anti-piracy operation, in 2008. The German navy will no longer provide a P3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft to Djibouti. But she promises other ways

A German P3 Orion C aircraft on the Djibouti base (Credit: Bundeswehr/Jenny Bartsch – Archives B2 – March 2015)

Germany decided to adjust the German contribution to Atalanta » we explain in Berlin. A decision taken at the end of 2020, at the same time as the European operation was renewed for two additional years. Germany will continue to provide personnel to the Operations HQ in Rota (Spain). It could also return to sea, with a ship temporarily made available. A new chapter in Operation Atalanta opens.

Several reasons, some official and others unofficial

This decision has multiple explanations. First, the threat level in the waters of the Horn of Africa is currently at “ a low level » justifies the Bundeswehr. This is the price of success. While we counted “ 571 attacks in the area between 2008 and 2012 ", this has reduced significantly in recent years: ten attacks between 2013 and 2016 (without kidnappings), seven attacks in 2017 (including two with kidnappings), three attacks in 2018. Since the last piracy incident " confirmed », in April 2019, “ no piracy incidents have been recorded off Somalia. " No ships left in the hands of Somali pirates »

Second reason, the range of tasks of the operation is “ changing ". Operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta no longer aims only to combat piracy, but also to combat arms and drug trafficking. Germany “ daily "this extension to" other forms of maritime threats that endanger regional security ". NB: this requires reviewing the legal framework of the commitment. The current mandate, authorized by the Bundestag until May 2021, does not automatically include this goal.

Another reason for this redeployment is more unmentionable, but very concrete. The German navy no longer really has any planes in good condition (read: A French Atlantic 2 in Irini. German P3 Orions broken down). She prefers to reserve them for a closer and more important area in terms of threats: the Mediterranean (read: The German P3 Orion … far from the area of ​​​​operation).

It remains to repatriate the material

The German base in Djibouti, which provided logistics in particular, will be partly dismantled. The German contingent there is in the process of being relocated to Germany (via A400M). And the special pioneers of Husum are “ checking "the equipment on site to examine" its transportability ". The return will then be made either by sea, by air, or even (it is not specified) simply left on site (or destroyed). The volume is rather substantial: we are talking about around 50 standardized maritime containers. The move will take several months and should be completed by May 31, 2021.

An operation with Spanish resources surtout

It should be noted that the EUNAVFOR Atalanta operation currently includes only Spanish assets: the landing ship Castilla (L52) and a P3 Orion patrol aircraft. It should be temporarily reinforced by French ships participating in the Jeanne D'arc mission, the amphibious helicopter carrier Thunder and the frigate Surcouf. Spain is in command of the operation, with Admiral Eugenio Díaz del Río, acting as framework nation and providing a good part of the means. Italy, which is one of the other regular contributors, has deputy command of the operation, with Rear Admiral Roberto Messina (1).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

  1. A position assigned for a certain time (by rotation), to a German officer, when Germany was one of the most regular contributors to the operation (in terms of naval resources).

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).