Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea

EU welcomes contribution of the ROK warship to EU Naval Force's counter-piracy operation

Bruxelles, 21/02/2017 - 03:38, UNIQUE ID: 170221_11
Statements on behalf of the EU

The European Union Welcomes Contribution of  the Republic of Korea Warship Choi Young to the EU Naval Force’s Counter-Piracy Operation in the Gulf of Aden


In March 2017 the Republic of Korea's warship, Choi Young, will join the European Union’s counter-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia.  The Choi Young will partner EU NAVFOR Somalia - Operation Atalanta warships to prevent acts of piracy such as those that plagued the waters off the coast of Somalia just a few years ago. The 4,400 tonne frigate has 300 crew members, Lynx helicopters and a special operations team on board.


The contribution of a Korean warship to Operation Atalanta has been made possible by the EU-Republic of Korea Framework Agreement, which has been in force since December 2016 and foresees the possible participation of Korea in EU crisis management operations. It also follows a number of successful meetings and exercises between EU NAVFOR and Korean warships in the Gulf of Aden over the past few years. Korea has also contributed warships to the Combined Maritime Forces, based in Bahrain. Choi Young’s command team will co-ordinate day-to-day counter-piracy operations with EU NAVFOR staff on board Operation Atalanta’s flagship, ESPS Galicia.


The EU launched EU NAVFOR Somalia - Operation Atalanta, in December 2008 following a surge in armed pirate attacks. Its key role is to protect World Food Programme vessels carrying humanitarian aid to Somali ports and to deter and repress pirate attacks. EU NAVFOR warships also monitor fishing activities off the Somali coast and support EU sister missions that are working to strengthen maritime security and capacities in the Horn of Africa region.    


On 24 November 2016 the Council of the EU extended Operation Atalanta’s mandate to 31 December 2018.




Operation Commander: Major General Rob Magowan CBE

Headquarters: Northwood (near London), United Kingdom


Area of Operations: Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean

Troop strength: The composition of EU NAVFOR Somalia changes due to rotation of assets. It typically comprises approximately 1,000 personnel, 3 – 4 warships and 2 aircraft.

Operation budget: Military assets and personnel are provided by contributing states, with the running and personnel costs being met on a national basis. In addition, there is a common budget of EUR 5.9 million for 2017 agreed and monitored by the Athena Committee of Member States.

Contributing states: Participation in EU NAVFOR goes beyond EU Member States. Norway was the first non-EU country to contribute to the Operation, with a warship in 2009. Thereafter, Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine have provided staff officers to the Operational Headquarters and Force Headquarters. Ukraine contributed a warship early in 2014, New Zealand contributed a maritime aircraft later the same year and in 2015, Colombia provided associated support. Korea is the latest non-EU country to contribute a warship to Operation Atalanta.


EU NAVFOR Somalia has made a significant contribution to the reduction and suppression of piracy: In 2011, 174 merchant vessels were attacked and 25 ships pirated, with 736 seafarers held hostage. In 2013, 7 ships were attacked, but none were pirated. In 2014 two ships were attacked. There were no Somali-based pirate attacks in 2015 and one in 2016. There have been no pirate attacks so far in 2017. 


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