New Op Atalanta Force Commander meets units

Operation Atalanta’s new Force Commander who took command over the force six days ago used the opportunity to meet a Lithuanian Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment as his ship, FGs Bayern, rendezvoused with World Food Programme ship MSM Douro.

The Lithuanian team that comprises MSM Douro’s Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD) met with the Commander in the Gulf of Aden, in the Arabian Sea.

A core task of Operation Atalanta is the protection of World Food Programme vessels delivering aid to Somalia. This protection can be guaranteed by EU Naval Force providing an escorting warship and for short-term chartered vessels this is often the case.

AVPDs are used to protect longer-term chartered vessels, like the MSM Douro, allowing more flexibility for the tasking of warships whilst still ensuring the protection of the WFP ship.

The Commander also visited the Spanish MPRA (Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft) Detachment deployed at the French Air Base in Djibouti. The MPRA Detachment is used to obtain an up-to-date picture of the area of operations, allowing Op Atalanta’s ships to be used to deter and disrupt piracy.

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.

Kaack will command the EU Naval Force Somalia from his flaghsip, FGS Bayern for five months before returning to Germany.