EU naval forces off Somalia change command

Warships and other assets deployed to the EU NAVFOR operation Atalanta received a new commander during a ceremony held in Brussels, November 7.

Major General Rob Magowan CBE handed over command to Major General Charlie Stickland OBE after 17 months in charge.

Over the last 17 months Major General Magowan, as operation commander has overseen the deployment of 23 EU warships from six different nations, three maritime patrol aircraft from Spain, Germany and France as well as vessel protection teams from Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro.

During his time in command, Major General Magowan continued to integrate EU candidate countries such as Serbia and Montenegro into the force and oversaw the successful participation of the Republic of Korea in Atalanta’s task force.

The operation commander also supported the European Union’s Comprehensive Approach to the development of Somalia. During his time in command, EU NAVFOR supported its sister mission EU CAP Somalia, the EU Training Mission as well as the EU Delegation to Somalia on a number of occasions by providing training opportunities for Somali forces or by hosting high level representatives including the Somali president and prime minister on board EU NAVFOR warships.

“Our reputation is high and is delivering real effect. This is the most multinational operation I have served in and I have been well supported throughout my time in command of EU NAVFOR,” Major General Rob Magowan said. “As I leave this post, it is therefore the thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen that I salute, those men and women whose perseverance and determination have made this operation the international success it is today.”