EU/Somalia — eu-naval-operation-against-piracy

(EUNAVFOR Soma­lia — Oper­a­tion ATALANTA)
On 8 Decem­ber 2009, the Coun­cil of the EU decid­ed to extend the man­date of the mil­i­tary oper­a­tion to help deter, pre­vent and repress acts of pira­cy and armed rob­bery off the coast of Soma­lia for anoth­er year (until 12 Decem­ber 2010). The Euro­pean Union has been con­duct­ing this oper­a­tion since Decem­ber 2008.

EUNAVFOR Somalia - Operation ATALANTA

This mil­i­tary oper­a­tion, named EUNAVFOR Soma­lia — Oper­a­tion ATALANTA, was launched in sup­port of Res­o­lu­tions 1814, 1816, 1838, 1846 which were adopt­ed in 2008 and 1897 adopt­ed in 2009 by the Unit­ed Nations Secu­ri­ty Council.

Its aim is to con­tribute to: 

  • the pro­tec­tion of ves­sels of the World Food Pro­gramme (WFP) deliv­er­ing food aid to dis­placed per­sons in Somalia;
  • the pro­tec­tion of vul­ner­a­ble ves­sels sail­ing in the Gulf of Aden and off the Soma­li coast and the deter­rence, pre­ven­tion and repres­sion of acts of pira­cy and armed rob­bery off the Soma­li coast.

This oper­a­tion — the Euro­pean Union’s first ever naval oper­a­tion — is being con­duct­ed in the frame­work of the Com­mon Secu­ri­ty and Defence Pol­i­cy (CSDP) of the EU.

Oper­a­tion ATALANTA’s mis­sion is to: 

  • pro­vide pro­tec­tion for ves­sels char­tered by the WFP;
  • pro­vide pro­tec­tion for mer­chant vessels;
  • employ the nec­es­sary mea­sures, includ­ing the use of force, to deter, pre­vent and inter­vene in order to bring to an end acts of pira­cy and armed rob­bery which may be com­mit­ted in the areas where they are present.

Oper­a­tional para­me­ters
The Polit­i­cal and Secu­ri­ty Com­mit­tee (PSC) exer­cis­es the polit­i­cal con­trol and strate­gic direc­tion of the EU mil­i­tary oper­a­tion, under the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union. For its part, the Euro­pean Union Mil­i­tary Com­mit­tee (EUMC) mon­i­tors the cor­rect exe­cu­tion of the oper­a­tion con­duct­ed under the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the Oper­a­tion Commander.

Rear Admi­ral Peter Hud­son (UK) com­mands the oper­a­tion from the Oper­a­tional Head­quar­ters (OHQ) at North­wood, Unit­ed King­dom. There he plans and con­ducts the oper­a­tion as direct­ed by the author­i­ties of the Euro­pean Union.

Rear Admi­ral Jan Thörn­qvist (SE) com­mands the Euro­pean naval force from the Force Head­quar­ters (FHQ) on board of HMS Carl­skro­na, a frigate present in the theatre. 

EUNAVFOR Somalia - Operation ATALANTA

More than twen­ty ves­sels and air­craft takes part in EUNAVFOR, i.e. more than 1 800 mil­i­tary per­son­nel. At the present time, the fol­low­ing EU mem­ber states are mak­ing a per­ma­nent oper­a­tional con­tri­bu­tion to the oper­a­tion: the Nether­lands, Spain, Ger­many, France, Greece, Italy, Swe­den, Bel­gium, Lux­em­bourg and Por­tu­gal. Also, a num­ber of oth­er EU mil­i­tary per­son­nel sup­ple­ment the team at the North­wood OHQ. Since August 2009, Nor­way is the first non-EU coun­try to par­tic­i­pate in ATALANTA. Croa­t­ia, Mon­tene­gro and Ukraine also par­tic­i­pate in the operation.

The joint fund­ing of the oper­a­tion amounts to EUR 8,3 mil­lions for the first year. This bud­get, which is shared between the EU mem­ber states and is estab­lished on the basis of their GDP, main­ly cov­ers the run­ning costs of the OHQ and the FHQ. The com­mon costs for sup­ply­ing the force are borne by the con­tribut­ing coun­tries and estab­lished accord­ing to their involve­ment in the oper­a­tion, with each coun­try con­tin­u­ing to bear the cost of the resources it pro­vides (notably deploy­ment costs, logis­tic support).

EU Trans­fer Agree­ments
The mil­i­tary per­son­nel involved in the oper­a­tion can arrest, detain and trans­fer per­sons who are sus­pect­ed of hav­ing com­mit­ted or who have com­mit­ted acts of pira­cy or armed rob­bery in the areas where they are present. They can seize the ves­sels of the pirates or the ves­sels cap­tured fol­low­ing an act of pira­cy or an armed rob­bery and which are in the hands of the pirates, as well as the goods on board. The sus­pects can be pros­e­cut­ed, as appro­pri­ate thus far, by an EU mem­ber state or by Kenya under the agree­ment signed with the EU on 6 March 2009 giv­ing the Kenyan author­i­ties the right to pros­e­cute. An exchange of let­ters con­clud­ed on 30 Octo­ber 2009 between the EU and the Repub­lic of Sey­chelles allows the trans­fer of sus­pect­ed pirates and armed rob­bers appre­hend­ed by ATALANTA in the oper­a­tion area. This arrange­ment con­sti­tutes an impor­tant new con­tri­bu­tion to the counter-pira­cy efforts. This agree­ment is based on the same con­di­tions and frame­work than the Kenyan agree­ment. Sim­i­lar arrange­ments with oth­er coun­tries are being devel­oped or explored.

The Euro­pean naval force oper­ates in a zone com­pris­ing the south of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and part of the Indi­an Ocean, includ­ing the Sey­chelles, which rep­re­sents an area com­pa­ra­ble to that of the Mediter­ranean. Sev­er­al oth­er naval forces also oper­ate in this zone. The EUNAVFOR oper­a­tion is in per­ma­nent liai­son with these forces (US-led coali­tion CTF-151, NATO, Russ­ian, Indi­an, Japan­ese, Malaysian and Chi­nese vessels). 

EUNAVFOR Somalia - Operation ATALANTA

Each mer­chant ves­sel wish­ing to tran­sit through the Gulf of Aden or off the coast of Soma­lia is advised to reg­is­ter in advance on the web­site of the Mar­itime Secu­ri­ty Cen­ter-Horn of Africa (, which was set up at the begin­ning of the oper­a­tion to facil­i­tate the coor­di­na­tion of mar­itime traffic. 

This ini­tia­tive, which was wel­comed by the whole com­mu­ni­ty of ship own­ers and mer­chant navies, makes it pos­si­ble for ves­sels that observe EUNAVFOR rec­om­men­da­tions to get the best degree of secu­ri­ty avail­able and to receive – in some cas­es – close mil­i­tary pro­tec­tion, and thus reduce the risk of attacks or capture.

The com­pre­hen­sive Euro­pean Union approach

EUNAVFOR Somalia - Operation ATALANTA

EUNAVFOR-ATALANTA is part of the glob­al action con­duct­ed by the EU in the Horn of Africa to deal with the Soma­li cri­sis, which has polit­i­cal, secu­ri­ty and human­i­tar­i­an aspects.

The EU sup­ports the Dji­bouti process for peace and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in Soma­lia, facil­i­tat­ed by the UN. In this con­text, the EU wel­comed the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed on 30 Jan­u­ary 2009. The EU is mul­ti­ply­ing its efforts to sup­port the peace process and has called on all par­ties in Soma­lia to ease the suf­fer­ing of the pop­u­la­tion and to seize this oppor­tu­ni­ty to work towards the restora­tion of secu­ri­ty, sta­bil­i­ty and devel­op­ment in Soma­lia. The gov­ern­ment also has the task of deliv­er­ing a new con­sti­tu­tion, to be adopt­ed by ref­er­en­dum, and of set­ting up demo­c­ra­t­i­cal­ly elect­ed insti­tu­tions by the end of the tran­si­tion peri­od in August 2011.

The EU and its Mem­ber states sup­port the African Union’s mil­i­tary mis­sion to Soma­lia (AMISOM) finan­cial­ly, in terms of plan­ning and capac­i­ty build­ing, in order to increase, in par­tic­u­lar, the effi­cien­cy of the Soma­li police force and to com­bat any abuse and seri­ous vio­la­tion of human rights. 

EUNAVFOR has also pro­vid­ed the nec­es­sary resources to pro­tect ships aimed at sus­tain­ing AMISOM or deploy­ing AMISOM reinforcements. 

EUNAVFOR Somalia - Operation ATALANTA

The Joint Strat­e­gy Paper for Soma­lia for 2008–2013 pro­vides an allo­ca­tion of EUR 215,8 mil­lion under the EC’s 10th Euro­pean Devel­op­ment Fund (EDF). It cov­ers three main sec­tors of coop­er­a­tion: gov­er­nance, edu­ca­tion and rur­al devel­op­ment. The issue of the secu­ri­ty of mar­itime routes is also includ­ed in the Euro­pean Commission’s 2009–2011 indica­tive programme.

On 22 and 23 April 2009, was held in Brus­sels the Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence in sup­port of the Soma­li Secu­ri­ty Insti­tu­tions and the AMISOM, organ­ised by the UN, the EU and the African Union. Almost USD 213 mil­lion were pledged to help the Soma­li Tran­si­tion­al Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment bring about peace and stability.

On 7 April 2010, the Coun­cil of the EU launched the EU mil­i­tary mis­sion to con­tribute to train­ing of Soma­li secu­ri­ty forces (EUTM Somalia)1. The train­ing will start in the begin­ning of May 2010. This mis­sion will take place in Ugan­da where Soma­li forces are already being trained, which will also facil­i­tate the coor­di­na­tion of the EU action with the AMISOM

Euro­pean Union 

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