July 23, 2019 – In a handover/takeover ceremony this morning on board the EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA warship ESPS Navarra, EU NAVFOR Deputy Operation Commander Rear Admiral Giovanni Battista Piegaja welcomed the operation’s new Force Commander, Rear Admiral Simi and his Flag Ship, ITS Antonia Marceglia, as the new Force Headquarters (FHQ) for the 32nd rotation of Operation ATALANTA.
EU NAVFOR also welcomed the ESPS CANARIAS as a new addition to the 32nd rotation of Operation ATALANTA. Both vessels will sail with Operation ATALANTA from the end of July 2019 until early November 2019, countering piracy and monitoring fishing activity off the Somali coast under the mandate of the European Union.
The Force Command of Operation ATALANTA was transferred to R. Adm. Simi today from R. Adm. Ricardo HERNANDEZ (Spanish Navy). Last April, under R. Adm. Hernandez’s command, EU NAVFOR’s ESPS NAVARRA was able to approach, intercept and board a fishing vessel captured by pirates off the Somali coast. With the support of the private armed security teams and EU NAVFOR’s various active assets in the region—including the frigate ESPS NAVARRA and MPRAs German JESTER and Spanish CISNE—Operation Atalanta was able to control the situation and prevent any further imminent attacks.