Friday 8th December 2017 marks the ninth anniversary of EU Naval Force Somalia’s Operation Atalanta, the successful EU Naval Force counter- piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin.
This anniversary comes soon after EU NAVFOR successfully apprehended, detained and transferred suspected pirates for judicial process in the Seychelles.
During the past eight years, Operation Atalanta’s mission has four aspects. Firstly, the mission provides close escort protection by EU NAVFOR warships to the World Food Programme shipments of food from Mombasa into Somalia. Secondly, the mission is to deter and disrupt piracy within the Gulf of Aden and along the Somalia Coast. Thirdly, it is to protect a variety of vulnerable shipping that may transit through the precarious sea lanes. Finally EU NAVFOR continues to monitor fishing activities in the region.
Operation Atalanta has achieved much, including the establishment of the International Recognised Transit Corridor in the Gulf of Aden. Other positive developments include International agreements that allow regional prosecution of pirates from Kenya and Seychelles and other states as well as the Shared Awareness and De-confliction Conferences (SHADE) that have been extremely successful in bringing together national navies not normally associated with the EU, NATO or the Combined Maritime Force (CMF).
EU NAVFOR plays a vital role in encouraging the international community to respond positively and proactively to the challenge of maritime piracy; recent engagements have included visits from a Chinese delegation at sea as part of Task Force ETG171.