Germany assumes command of counter-piracy operation

German Navy Rear Admiral Jan Kaack took over the role of the Force Commander of EUNAVFOR’s Operation Atalanta from the Italian Navy Rear Admiral Stefano Barbieri on March 23.

Rear Admiral Kaack will command the EU Naval Force Somalia from his flaghsip, FGS Bayern for five months.

Speaking about his new command, Rear Admiral Kaack stated: “I am proud to take Force Command of Operation Atalanta today. Whilst there have been no successful acts of piracy recently, this does not mean that the threat from piracy has gone away.”

“We must remain vigilant and continue to work together to ensure that the pirates are not given the opportunity to get out to sea and attack merchant ships and their crews for ransom. I wish Rear Admiral Barbieri and his crew a safe journey home to their families.”

The German Rear Admiral will be directing the mission from the Brandenburg-class frigate FGS Bayern which departed Naval Base Wilhelmshaven on March 7.

Operation Atalanta’s main tasks are: to protect merchant vessels carrying World Food Programme (WFP) humanitarian aid for the Somali people from pirate attack, deter acts of piracy and monitor fishing activity off the coast of Somalia. When requested to do so, and within means and capabilities, EU Naval Force warships also support other EU missions and international organisations, such as the UN, that are working to strengthen maritime security and capacity in the region.