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Spanish frigates 'Victoria' and 'Canarias' take over within Operation Atalanta

Mediterranean Sea
February 17, 2022
  • The EU force is currently led by Portuguese Commodore Joao Paulo Silva Pereira

The Spanish frigates 'Canarias' and 'Victoria' conducted the HOTO ceremony as Atalanta's flagship and, also personnel from the headquarters led by Portuguese Commodore Joao Paulo Silva Pereira, as part of the 39th rotation.

The HOTO ceremony was held on the morning of February the 15th, with the crews of both frigates lined up on their respective flight decks. Commodore Joao Paulo Silva Pereira conveyed a farewell speech to frigate Victoria's crew. Following this, the commander of frigate 'Canarias', captain Rafael Samaniego Martín de Francisco, was presented the EU flag by the commander of frigate 'Victoria', captain Rafael Mira Calvo.

Afterwards, Commodore Pereira embarked on the frigate Canarias, Atalanta's new flagship, where he addressed the crew, conveying his guidelines for the development of the mission. This marked the end of the HOTO ceremony in which all protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic were observed to keep a safety bubble over the time that both ships were docked.

Frigate 'Canarias' set off its transit to the area of operations on 16 February, while frigate 'Victoria' set sail to Rota Naval Base on the same day.

Atalanta's main tasks are to prevent and deter piracy; protect vulnerable maritime traffic, especially World Food Programme vessels; and cooperate with other international organisations and missions to help Somalia acquire capabilities that promote a secure environment, enabling its social and economic development.