AUGUST 3, 2018 — European shipowners have welcomed a European Council decision to extent the mandate of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta until December 31, 2020. The objectives of Operation Atalanta are the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast and the protection of the World Food Program (WFP) and other vulnerable shipping, fishing activities and other EU missions and programs in the region.
“The naval presence of the EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta and the cooperation with other international forces, has strongly contributed to the dramatic decrease in piracy attacks in this region,” said Martin Dorsman, Secretary General of the European Community Shipowners Association (ECSA). The number of attacks off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean has decreased from 176 in 2011 to 9 in 2017, while no incident was reported during the second quarter of 2018.
Following the U.K.’s decision to withdraw from the EU, the Council also decided that the Operational Headquarters will be transferred from Northwood (U.K) to Rota (Spain), and the Maritime Security Center Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) to Brest (France) as of 29 March 2019.
“It needs to be guaranteed that the Operation Atalanta will continue to run as effectively and efficiently as today,” Dorsman said.
The shipping industry will continue to cooperate with the EU NAVFOR commanders to ensure that Somali-based piracy stays suppressed.