Italy in command of the European operation Atalanta

(To Greater Defense)

Italy - on Sunday 11 February - assumed tactical command of the European Union operation EUNAVFOR (European Naval Force) Atalanta. The handover ceremony between Rear Admiral of the Navy Francesco Saladino and Commodore Rogério Martins de Brito of the Portuguese Navy took place this morning in the port of Djibouti, on board the Spanish frigate Victoria and in the presence of the deputy commander of the operation, Rear Admiral Éric Dousson.

“The assumption of command of the Atalanta operation, at this particular moment, takes on significant significance for the Defense. The threat of piracy requires a firm and coordinated response at an international level and the EUNAVFOR SOMALIA mission (op. Atalanta) represents a fundamental pillar in the European strategy to protect trade routes and keep maritime lines of communication open”.

Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said in a press release.

“The Red Sea region, following the Houthi threat and attacks, has made this area central in the geostrategic and geopolitical landscape for the European Union. The EU's decision to launch a new mission in the Red Sea to protect trade routes is confirmation of this. Italy was asked to provide the force commander of the ASPIDES operation. This is further recognition of the work carried out by the government, Defense and the Navy" – continued Minister Crosetto, underlining that – “Our commitment to these missions underlines Italy's determination to actively contribute to international peace and security. We are aware of the challenges that await us, but we are also confident in our ability to face them successfully, thanks to the professionalism and excellence of our Armed Forces as well as the solid collaboration with our allies and international partners".

Admiral Saladin will exercise the duties of force commander from aboard the frigate Federico Martinengo until June.

Purpose of the operation Atalanta is to prevent and repress acts of piracy in the area of ​​operations, which includes the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin, also guaranteeing the protection of the merchant units of the World Food Program (WFP), responsible for transporting humanitarian aid headed to Somalia and Yemen.

Ship Martinengo, under the command of frigate captain Piergiorgio Ferroni, before arriving in Djibouti, was engaged in the Red Sea in ensuring maritime surveillance and in the protection of merchant units in transit to guarantee the freedom of trade routes.