EU Naval Force Operation ATALANTA: maritime security provider

Source: EU Naval Force Operation ATALANTA

Last January, the mandate of Operation ATALANTA was renewed by the European Union. Driven by the commitment of the EU Member States during the last three years, EUNAVFOR ATALANTA has turned to a maritime security provider in the North Western Indian Ocean, broadening its area of operations, which now includes the Red Sea. ATALANTA's tasks now range from combating piracy and protecting the vulnerable shipping to countering drugs trafficking and participating to the weapons embargo on al‑Shabaab. The Operation also conducts monitoring and reporting activities, related to illegal fishing, implementation of arms embargo in Somalia and charcoal trafficking, as well as training and operational activities with coastal states of the North Western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, with the overall objective to contribute to a sustainable regional maritime security architecture.

This year, Spain and Italy have integrated ships in the operation for long periods, acting as the flagships of ATALANTA. Other ways to contribute include “direct” support (operational control delegated to EUNAVFOR) or “associated” support (share information and coordinate operations). Developed during the past years, this “flexible” participation to the Operation allows EU and non-EU Member States to contribute for a short-term period to the Operation, in the spirit of cooperation and mutual support, which is at the core of the European Union. In this area, France has developed an important contribution.

The French Navy has continuously provided warships, enhancing the operation capabilities exponentially. The Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) conducting the “Mission Jeanne D’Arc 23”, composed of the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) DIXMUDE and frigate LA FAYETTE, is a clear example, carrying out EUNAVFOR’s first anti-drugs operation in 2023 (more than 1 ton of narcotics seized worth more than 37 million € in street value). Recently, frigate SURCOUF conducted another counter narcotics operation, seizing more than two tons of hashish, worth around 20 million € in street value. The associated support provided by the minehunter ANDROMEDE also contributed to enhance the visibility of ATALANTA, as she carried out the first port visit of a vessel under the EUNAVFOR flag in Jordan. Other warships like the frigates COURBET, LORRAINE, FLOREAL and GUEPRATTE, and the Naval Research Vessel BEAUTEMPS-BEAUPRE have also participated, increasing the capacity of surveillance and reaction to any maritime security incident in the extended area of operations.

The commitment of the EU and non-EU member states participating in the Operation is paramount to fulfil the mandate given by the European Union and build up a maritime security structure, in the spirit of de-confliction, fair cooperation and mutual trust.



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