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Relief of Command Vessel in Operation Atalanta

In Souda, Crete
June 15, 2023
  • The frigate 'Navarra' F-85 has relieved the 'Reina Sofía' in the port of Souda.

he frigate 'Reina Sofía' F-84 ends its deployment after four months as command ship for Operation 'Atalanta'. During its return to Rota, it will support NATO's Operation 'Sea Guardian'. The frigate 'Navarra' takes over the role of flagship of the EUNAVFOR ATALANTA Force Commander, embarking its General Staff. The 'Navarra' will be integrated into the European Union Operation when it enters the area of operations, after crossing the Suez Canal.

The forty-third rotation of the General Staff of the EUNAVFOR ATALANTA Naval Force Headquarters, made up of members of seven different nationalities and commanded by Rear Admiral Juan María Ibáñez Martín, has been working on board the 'Reina Sofía' since 15 February. After the changeover, he will operate from the 'Navarra', until mid-July, when he will be relieved in the next rotation by an Italian Force Commander aboard the destroyer 'Durand de la Penne'.

Spain is the only EU country that has participated uninterruptedly in this operation. It should be noted that this is the twentieth time that a frigate from the 41st Escort Squadron has deployed in 'Atalanta'. This reaffirms the commitment for which Vice Admiral José María Núñez Torrente, Operational Commander, awarded the 41st Squadron last May.

EUNAVFOR ATALANTA emerged as a response to the crisis caused by Somali piracy. It is currently working to establish a secure maritime environment in the western Indian Ocean, fighting piracy and armed robbery at sea, providing protection for World Food Programme and United Nations (WFP) vessels, and monitoring illegal activities such as drug and arms trafficking..