Shipping & Shipbuilding News -  10 December 2008- The Brightest Maritime Daily
 



HMS CUMBERLAND

Royal Navy Admiral leads EU anti-piracy mission
Europe's first naval task force begins operations...


The Royal Navy's Rear Admiral Phil Jones took charge of the EU led counter-piracy naval operation, [operating] off the coast of Somalia from Monday 8 December 2008.

The operation, called Op ATALANTA, is the European Union's first naval task force, and it has been assembled to ensure the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia as well as protection to other vulnerable shipping off Somalia and to provide deterrence to acts of piracy by presence and surveillance.

In response to the increase in piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the UK has supported EU planning for a counter-piracy naval operation off the coast of Somalia and is providing the Operation Commander, Rear Admiral Phil Jones, and the Multi-National Operation Headquarters. The UK will also provide a frigate for the first period of the operation.

Piracy disrupts legitimate trade and adds significant costs to goods that UK consumers rely on. The UK contribution to the EU mission in The Gulf of Aden will send a strong message to pirates that their activities will not be tolerated and that the global community is united in its efforts to deter and disrupt them.

On his appointment as Operational Commander Rear Admiral Jones said:

"This initiative clearly demonstrates the EU's determination to combat these criminal acts. It is also something of a privilege for the UK to be asked to lead such a milestone operation and it is an important step in reassuring the international shipping community that something is being done to protect our maritime interests."

The UK, together with France, was at the forefront in launching what would become European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) at the Saint-Malo summit ten years ago. Since then the EU has launched more than 20 civilian and military missions in three continents. Op ATALANTA will be the first ESDP mission that the UK has led.

Secretary of State for Defence John Hutton said earlier this month:

"This initiative clearly demonstrates the EU's determination to combat these criminal acts. It is also something of a privilege for the UK to be asked to lead such a milestone operation and it is an important step in reassuring the international shipping community that something is being done to protect our maritime interests."

Rear Admiral Phil Jones

"The EU mission to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia is the latest example of the progress in European Defence in the last ten years and evidence of UK's commitment to ESDP.

"The EU has a powerful set of resources - civilian expertise, military forces, economic might and the most extensive diplomatic network in the world, as well as being the biggest donor of development funding in the world. This makes it uniquely placed to respond to instability."

Op ATALANTA will involve six warships and three surveillance aircraft with contributions expected to be made by the UK, France, Greece, Spain, and Germany, patrolling a million square kilometres of the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden where pirates have captured several vessels and taken numerous hostages this year alone.

The first EU ships are expected to arrive in the area soon, after formal agreement by foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels yesterday. They will take over from four NATO vessels. Approximately 1,200 people will be taking part in the Operation at any one time.

The Royal Navy has already been involved in NATO led counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia; in November suspected pirates were apprehended by crew members from Royal Navy frigate HMS Cumberland and subsequently handed over to the custody of the Kenyan Police.


 



 


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