Spain took over command of the headquarters of the EU’s counter-piracy Operation ‘Atalanta’ off the Horn of Africa in Rota on 29 March, the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Somalia has announced.
Command was transferred from UK Royal Marines Major General Charlie Stickland to Spanish Navy Vice Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave. Operation ‘Atalanta’ had been commanded since it began in December 2008 by a UK-led operational headquarters (OHQ) co-located with the Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood, London.
The final decision to move the headquarters was reached by the Council of the EU meeting in Brussels on 30 July 2018, which also extended EUNAVFOR Somalia’s mandate until the end of 2020.
In addition, the Maritime Security Centre - Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) has been transferred from Northwood to the French port of Brest. Established by EUNAVFOR Somalia in close co-operation with industry, MSCHOA provides 24-hour manned monitoring of vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden and an interactive website to communicate the latest anti-piracy guidance to the maritime industry and for shipping companies and operators to register their vessels’ movements through the area.
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