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Spain takes over command of Operation ‘Atalanta’

Berenice, Egypt
May 6, 2020

Rear Admiral Ignacio Villanueva Serrano has taken over command of ‘Atalanta’ forces on board of ‘Numancia’ frigate – under Tactical Control (TACON) of the Operations Command (MOPS, in Spanish).

The handover ceremony was carried out at Berenice Egyptian Base in close coordination with the Egyptian authorities.

Spain fully leads operation ‘Atalanta’ with Major General Antonio Planells, as Operation Commander, and Rear Admiral Ignacio Villanueva, as Force Commander.

It is remarkable that, among the COVID-19 international outbreak, the Spanish Ministry of Defense, along with the Ministry of Health, has set up an arriving plan for the incoming personnel to the theater of operations that includes several preventive measures against the COVID-19. Furthermore, a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing has been carried out on all personnel, with negative results among all of them. Nevertheless, all military personnel were quarantined for 14 days within military facilities. After this period, they were tested again to verify that none of them were infected prior to the tour got initiated.


The Spanish frigate 'Numancia' set off from Rota Naval Base to be integrated in Operation ‘Atalanta’ on February 15.

Since then, the Frigate has been under control of the 33rd rotation, commanded by Portuguese Rear Admiral Jose Vizinha Mirones. From now on, the frigate starts the second phase of its mission  as commanding ship of the operation.