FGS Karlsruhe Hands Over Counter Piracy Duties to FGS Augsburg in Djibouti
On 3 April, German Frigate FGS Karlsruhe handed over counter piracy duties to her sister ship FGS Augsburg in a ceremony held in the port of Djibouti following a successful 5 month deployment as part of EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta.
The ceremony was attended by several distinguished guests from Djibouti, Germany, France, Spain and the UK, including the German Ambassador to Djibouti, Senior Djiboutian Coastguard officers and representatives of the French Air Force, Navy and Army. Captain Jens Neymeyer from the German Armed Forces Operation Command oversaw the handover between the two warships.
Speaking at the German handover Captain Neymeyer said “The presence of so many distinguished guests shows the importance of Germany’s contribution to the EU Naval Force and the high regard in which the EU’s counter piracy operation is held. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Djiboutian authorities and military who have made this fourteenth rotation of German contribution so welcoming, and also my thanks must go to our French allies.”
FGS Karlsruhe joined Operation Atlanta on 18 November 2012. Speaking about their time with the EU Naval Force, the ship’s commanding officer, Commander Volker Herbert Blasche said:
“We joined EU NAVFOR at a time when pirate attacks had thankfully reduced due to the efforts of the International Navies and also the use of protective Best Management Practices on board merchant ships. That said, the situation in Somalia remains fragile and I believe it is important that the maritime military presence continues in order to send a clear message to pirates and their investors. It’s like extinguishing a fire, you cannot leave if the fire is out, but still shouldering. What we did was maintain the pressure on pirate groups who are still intent on getting out to sea to attack ships.”
Commander Bernhard Veitl, commanding officer of FGS Augsburg, said:
“We have been training for, and are very much looking forward to joining Operation Atalanta. We are also proud to take over from FGS Karlsruhe – her ship’s company has done a great job.”
Naval Today Staff, April 4, 2013; Image: EU Navfor