German tanker Spessart departs EU mission off Africa

German Navy’s Rhön-class tanker FGS Spessart has left the EU Naval Force and Operation Atalanta fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia.

The ship spent eighty eight days and sailed over 13,600 nautical miles after leaving Wilhelmshaven navy base on April 18.

The EU naval task force is deployed to the Horn of Africa to conduct counter-piracy patrols and to protect World Food Programme ships that carry much-needed humanitarian aid. FGS Spessart’s role was to supply the Operation Atalanta warships with fuel and other supplies to enable them to remain at sea to deter and suppress acts of piracy.

During her time with the EU operation, FGS Spessart completed 21 replenishments at sea (RAS) with warships from six different nations, including three Operation Atalanta warships – FGS Bayern, ITS Euro and ESPS Santa Maria, as well as warships from Australia, Great Britain and the United States.

FGS Spessart can provide warships and helicopters with fuel, food and water.

Speaking about his ship’s important role, Captain Rolf von Bebern said: “During our time with Operation Atalanta, my crew has supplied warships and helicopters with all the fuel that they needed to maintain their patrols and to help keep seafarers safe. Every mission away from home is hard work, but extremely rewarding. I am proud of my crew and we are all looking forward to what we know will be a memorable homecoming in our home port.”

FGS Spessart’s transit home to Germany will take three weeks and it will arrive in its home port of Kiel at the end of August.