Operation Atalanta

Operation Atalanta, formally European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia, is a current counter-piracy military operation at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean, that is the first naval operation conducted by the European Union (EU). The operational headquarters is currently located at the Spanish Operation Headquarters (ESOHQ) at Naval Station Rota (NAVSTA Rota) in Spain, having moved from London as a result of the British withdrawal from the EU.[1]

Operation Atalanta
Part of counter-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa
Date8 December 2008 – present
(12 years, 9 months, 2 weeks and 3 days)

 European Union

 New Zealand
 United Kingdom
Somali pirates
Commanders and leaders
Vice Admiral José María Núñez Torrente [es]
(Operation Commander EU Naval Force)
Rear Admiral Roberto Messina
(Deputy Operation Commander EU Naval Force)
Rear Admiral (LH) Luca P. Esposito
(Force Commander EU Naval Force)
1–4 surface vessels
1–2 maritime patrol & reconnaissance aircraft

It is part of a larger global action by the EU to prevent and combat acts of piracy in the Indian Ocean, and it is the first EU naval operation to be launched.[2] It cooperates with the multinational Combined Task Force 151 of the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) and NATO's anti-piracy Operation Ocean Shield.

The mission was launched in December 2008 with a focus on protecting Somalia-bound vessels and shipments belonging to the WFP and AMISOM, as well as select other vulnerable shipments. In addition, Operation Atalanta monitors fishing activity on the regional seaboard.[3] In 2012, the scope of the mission expanded to include Somali coastal territories and internal waters so as to co-ordinate counter-piracy operations with Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and regional administrations.[4] On 16 July 2012, the EU also mandated the EUCAP Nestor mission to build up the maritime capacity of regional navies.[5]

In July 2018, the Council of the European Union extended the Mandate of Operation ATALANTA until December 2020.

January the 1st, the Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/2188 of 22 December 2020 that extended again the mandate of the EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA for another two years was implemented.