Operation Aspides: Duilio ship returns to its homeland

(To Marina Militare)

Last April 24th Nave Duilio, the first flagship of the newly formed EUNAVFOR ASPIDES operation, has handed over the baton to Nave Fasan, after 3 months of maritime surveillance in the Bab Al Mandeb Strait and, by extension, in the entire maritime area facing Yemen which goes from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

Purpose of Duilio, the protection of shipping of European and national interest from the threat of the Houti rebels, in the area of ​​goods transit to and from Suez, the eastern gateway to the Mediterranean: approximately 17% of world maritime trade passes through this thin strip of sea.

An intense period for the ship, which hosted a European joint force staff made up of 6 member countries, covering 21.639 nautical miles as part of one of the most delicate activities in which the Navy is currently engaged.

There were also numerous interactions with other Task Forces present in the area, such as the CTF 50 IKE Carrier Strike Group, focused on the aircraft carrier Eisenhower, and the CTF 125 "Prosperity Guardian", currently led by Italy: beyond the different mandates, coordination has been constant, to consolidate full interoperability at a tactical level. In this sense, the figure of ITA liaison officers is very important -USA for the comparison of their respective maneuver schemes, to guarantee certain detection of the threat, consisting in this case mainly of ballistic missiles and drones. 

During the mission the Duilio it crossed the Strait of Bab El Mandeb 30 times alongside 40 ships: the message of gratitude to the crew expressed by the respective commanders at the end of each close protection was punctual. A feeling of solidarity and brotherhood that unites sailors, summarized in the words of Vito Ravo, CSO Grimaldi Lines: “Our Navy makes us proud to be Italian. Knowing that at 1000 yards there is a commander who, together with his crew, is following the same route to protect human lives is something that is priceless".