The handover ceremony between the 48th and 49th Tactical Air Detachment (DAT) 'Orion' Contingent in the European Union's 'Operation Atalanta' based in Djibouti has been held.
The ceremony was headed by Lieutenant Colonel Juan Pablo Iturzaeta Sánchez, on behalf of the Operations Command, and it was attended by the European Union Embassy Representative in Djibouti, as well as other civilian and military authorities from the EU, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy and Japan.
At a solemn and simple ceremony, the former Force Commander, Lieutenant Colonel José Antonio Quesada Jiménez, handed over the command of the Spanish detachment to Commander Juan Carlos Peñas Carvajal, ending the mission of the 48th Contingent after three months of deployment in the inter-monsoon period, where it has been operating a maritime surveillance aircraft D4 VIGMA, MPA which is a version of the CN-235 aircraft, which has made its return to national territory once its last Horn of Africa mission has been completed.
Lieutenant Colonel Iturzaeta made a speech, highlighting the work conducted by the 50 members of the outgoing contingent, which has achieved an excellent operational index with a total of 189 flight hours throughout the various operational missions assigned. He also encouraged the arriving contingent to continue their efforts to maintain the recognition and prestige enjoyed by the Air and Space Force in 'Operation Atalanta'.
The DAT "Orion" exemplifies the commitment acquired by Spain in the fight against piracy through the western Indian Ocean, all with the aim of protecting World Food Program and United Nations vessels, as well as other vessels, mainly fishing vessels, sailing this area.
Spain has been the only EU country which have taken part uninterruptedly in 'Operation Atalanta' since its inception in 2008, establishing itself as a solid ally in its fight against armed groups at sea, contributing to the near elimination of piracy aggressions, as well as heavily reducing illegal trafficking flows in the western Indian Ocean and red Sea.