New EU Force Commander of EUNAVFOR Somalia — Operation Atalanta

Rear Admi­ral Juan Rodriguez Garat, from Spain, took office today as the new EU Force Com­man­der EUNAVFOR Soma­lia — Oper­a­tion Ata­lan­ta. He suc­ceeds Rear Admi­ral Philippe Coin­dreau from France.

On this occa­sion, Cather­ine Ash­ton, the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Union for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy, made the fol­low­ing comments:

“I would like to con­grat­u­late Rear Admi­ral Juan Rodriguez Garat on tak­ing office as the new EU Force Com­man­der of EUNAVFOR Soma­lia — Oper­a­tion Atalanta.

The EU is lead­ing inter­na­tion­al efforts against pira­cy off the coast of Soma­lia with EUNAVFOR — Ata­lan­ta oper­a­tion. I com­mend the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) for its suc­cess­es in deter­ring, pre­vent­ing and dis­rupt­ing pirates’ activ­i­ties, espe­cial­ly in pro­tect­ing World Food Pro­gramme and AMISOM shipments.

The EU is con­cerned with the con­tin­u­ing impact of pira­cy off the coast of Soma­lia on inter­na­tion­al mar­itime secu­ri­ty and on the eco­nom­ic activ­i­ties and secu­ri­ty of coun­tries in the region. We reit­er­ate our deter­mi­na­tion to strength­en the EU’s over­all engage­ment notably to enhance region­al capac­i­ty to fight piracy.

I would also like to warm­ly thank Rear Admi­ral Philippe Coin­dreau for his ded­i­ca­tion and excel­lent work he has per­formed dur­ing his term as the EU Force Com­man­der of EUNAVFOR Somalia.” 

More infor­ma­tion on:


EUNAVFOR — Ata­lan­ta was launched in Decem­ber 2008 to con­tribute to the pro­tec­tion of World Food Pro­gramme ves­sels deliv­er­ing food aid to dis­placed per­sons in Soma­lia, to the pro­tec­tion of vul­ner­a­ble ves­sels sail­ing in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Soma­lia and to the deter­rence, pre­ven­tion and repres­sion of acts of pira­cy and armed robbery.

Over the past two years, the EUNAVFOR’s pri­ma­ry mis­sion has been to pro­tect UN World Food Pro­gramme (WFP) against pirate attack by pro­vid­ing close escort to the ships car­ry­ing much need­ed human­i­tar­i­an aid to Soma­lia. Since the start of the oper­a­tion, 93 WFP ves­sels have been escort­ed by EUNAVFOR. The African Union Mis­sion in Somalia’s (AMISOM) logis­tic ves­sels also come under the pro­tec­tive arm of the EUNAVFOR with 75 suc­cess­ful escorts being achieved to date. EUNAVFOR is also tasked to pro­tect oth­er vul­ner­a­ble ship­ping and to help deter, pre­vent and repress pirate attacks.

The EU is com­mit­ted to a region­al approach to pira­cy off the coast of Soma­lia, based on own­er­ship of the coun­tries con­cerned and EU sup­port for their efforts to ensure the pros­e­cu­tion and deten­tion of sus­pect­ed pirates. The EU has con­clud­ed trans­fer agree­ments with Kenya and the Sey­chelles. Agree­ments with oth­er coun­tries in the region are under dis­cus­sion. As a result of its close coop­er­a­tion with region­al gov­ern­ments such as Kenya and The Repub­lic of the Sey­chelles, 92 sus­pect­ed pirates cap­tured by the EUNAVFOR have entered a legal sys­tem, with 43 being con­vict­ed to date.

As part of its efforts to sup­port sta­bil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty in Soma­lia, the EU launched in April 2010 a train­ing mis­sion (EUTM) in Ugan­da to train Soma­li troops ( In addi­tion to the deploy­ment of EUNAV­FOR-Ata­lan­ta, the EU’s com­pre­hen­sive engage­ment for Soma­lia includes human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance, devel­op­ment, sup­port to vital and pri­or­i­ty areas such as the secu­ri­ty sec­tor, assis­tance to the pop­u­la­tion and capac­i­ty-build­ing sup­port. The Coun­cil of the EU has decid­ed to extend EUNAVFOR-Atalanta’s man­date for 2 more years (until 12 Decem­ber 2012) 


Rear Admi­ral Rodríguez was born in Fer­rol, on May 21st, 1956. He joined the Naval Acad­e­my on August 16th, 1974, and grad­u­at­ed as Lieu­tenant Junior Grade in 1979.

As Lieu­tenant Junior Grade and Lieu­tenant, he served for eight years on board sev­er­al sur­face com­bat­ants: corvettes ESPS Infan­ta Ele­na and ESPS Diana, and frigates ESPS Cataluña and ESPS Andalucía. He com­mand­ed the fast patrol boat ESPS Alse­do from April 1990 to Novem­ber 1991.

Pro­mot­ed to Lieu­tenant Com­man­der in 1990, Rear Admi­ral Juan Rodríguez com­mand­ed the corvette ESPS Diana from Sep­tem­ber 1995 to March 1997. Lat­er, he served for one year in the staff of the NATO Stand­ing Naval Force Mediter­ranean (STANAVFORMED).

In 1998, he was pro­mot­ed to Com­man­der. In Octo­ber 2001 he assumed com­mand of the com­mis­sion­ing crew of the frigate ESPS Álvaro de Bazán, being built at Fer­rol. The ship was com­mis­sioned in Sep­tem­ber 2002, and Rear Admi­ral Rodríguez became her first Com­mand­ing Officer.

Pro­mot­ed to Cap­tain in 2004, he assumed com­mand of the 31st Escort Squadron, based at Fer­rol, in July 2005. He served for two years in this position.

Rear Admi­ral Rodríguez assumed com­mand of the Stand­ing NATO Mar­itime Group ONE in Jan­u­ary 2008, and was pro­mot­ed to Rear Admi­ral in Sep­tem­ber 2008. In Jan­u­ary 2009 he took office as ACOS OPS in the Span­ish Navy HQ.

In August, 2009, he assumed com­mand of the Span­ish Strike Group.

Ashore, Rear Admi­ral Rodríguez worked in sev­er­al posi­tions at the Fleet Head­quar­ters and the Navy Head­quar­ters. He also served at the Office of the Chief of the Span­ish Naval Staff from 1999 to 2002. As a Cap­tain, he worked in the Navy Head­quar­ters, as Chief of the Naval Pol­i­cy Branch, in the Plans and Pol­i­cy Divi­sion of the Naval Staff.

Rodríguez, a spe­cial­ist in Naval Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, grad­u­at­ed from the Naval War Col­lege in 1994. He attend­ed the Roy­al Naval Staff Col­lege at Green­wich (UK), and was grant­ed a Mas­ter in Defence Stud­ies by the Lon­don Uni­ver­si­ty in 1993.

Rear Admi­ral Rodríguez is mar­ried to Tere­sa Martínez, and they have five children. 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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