On Wednesday, September 14, it took place aboard the amphibious ship Saint Mark, moored at the Navy Pier - POL NATO in Augusta, the rotation ceremony of the first commander of the naval device of the Operation Safe Mediterranean (WHO), launched in August 2022 in line with the directive of the Minister of Defense on the "Security and Defense Strategy for the Mediterranean".
The device, composed of naval units and aircraft of the Navy integrated with the security and boarding teams of the marine brigade Saint Mark, operates steadily in the central and eastern Mediterranean. The Operation replaced the one started in 2015 and called Safe Sea continuing the work of maritime presence and surveillance of commercial vessels and the national fishing fleet, ensuring the protection of national off-shore platforms and the monitoring of non-allied naval units present in the Mediterranean also in collaboration with NATO and Union forces European.
In the presence of the commander-in-chief of the naval squad, squad admiral Aurelio De Carolis, Rear Admiral Valentino Rinaldi handed over the post of tactical commander to Rear Admiral Luca Pasquale Esposito.
The commander in chief of the naval team during his speech wanted to emphasize that “Today's rotation is particularly significant since it is the first since the Mare Safe operation evolved into the Safe Mediterranean on 10 August. This is a significant step, the implications of which are significant both strategically and from an operational and tactical point of view. In fact, through the launch of the Safe Mediterranean operation, the realization of the vision that the Minister of Defense has recently enunciated in his Defense and Security Strategy for the Mediterranean gains momentum. A strategy that links national security and the safeguarding of national interests to the stability of the wider Mediterranean region " he then went on to highlight how "The expansion of the area of operation is not only a geographical factor but a crucial element for the fulfillment of the mission and associated tasks".
In the course of his greeting, Rear Admiral Rinaldi said “During the period of my command, our presence was an effective deterrent against illegal activities. We have in fact supervised merchant traffic and ensured the protection and monitoring of national fishing boats and the protection of offshore platforms which are fundamental resources for the country's energy security, all this without ever losing sight of the maintenance of the expected level of training for the crews ".
In taking up the post, Rear Admiral Esposito wanted to highlight instead that "The crews and naval aircraft assigned to the operation are and will continue to be a flexible and effective device capable of seizing every useful opportunity to develop useful synergies with friendly and allied units".