On Wednesday 6th December 2017, EU NAVFOR’s Operation Commander, Major General Charlie Stickland congratulated Force Commander Rear Admiral Fabio Gregori on the completion of another Italian led mission.
Just over 4 months ago, Rear Admiral Gregori took Command of the Warships, Maritime Patrol Aircraft and security teams onboard on World Food Programme ships all the while embarked on EU NAVFOR’s Italian flagship, ITS Virginio Fasan. In that time the Admiral has overseen Focussed Operations, Leadership Engagements with key Somali and regional dignitaries, the building of maritime security capacity across the region and situating EU NAVFOR assets off the coast of Mogadishu to assist in an Emergency medical response following the recent bombings.
This was the first time ITS Fasan had deployed with Operation Atalanta. During their counter-piracy patrols the crew took the opportunity to meet Somali fishermen and local dignitaries to explain EU NAVFOR’s mission to protect World Food Programme ships, deter acts of piracy and monitor fishing activity. The crew also worked as part of the EU Comprehensive Approach with the EU Training Mission and EUCAP Somalia.
In November, ITS Fasan responded to an emergency call from a merchant ship, MV Ever Dynamic, after the vessel was attacked by a number of armed men in a fast-moving skiff. The armed men were tracked over night and embarked Italian Marines boarded the skiff the following morning. The suspected pirates were then held under UNSCR 2383 and transferred to the Seychelles for continuation of the judicial process.
At today’s handover ceremony Rear Admiral Fabio Gregori expressed his appreciation and thanks to the men and women deployed with EU NAVFOR saying: “Under this 26th rotation we have had much success thanks to hard work of the sailors and marines of EU NAVFOR” and he added: “I would personally like to thank the men and women of all the warships, aircraft and security teams of this Task Force who have generated the successes we have seen”. Following this the Operational Commander, Major General Charlie Stickland then thanked Rear Admiral Gregori for “the agility and flexibility of his team and being able to deliver a consistent, proactive and optimised operations during this rotation.”
EU NAVFOR’s mission to protect vulnerable shipping from the threat of piracy continues and since taking over command, the Admiral has personally overseen the delivery of just over 109,000 tonnes of food aid to the people of Somalia.