On 16 December 2019, the Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador Simon Mordue, paid a working visit to the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) operation "Atalanta".
The Head of Delegation received a briefing on the Atalanta mandate and activities from José Vizinha Mirones, the Force Commander of "SPS Victoria", a Spanish Frigate, which is currently docking at Mombasa Port. The Spanish vessel is on a six-month tour of duty patrolling the waters off the Coast of Somalia, under EUNAVFOR mandate.
The core mission of EU NAVFOR Somalia is to protect WFP vessels in the Gulf of Aden as well as to deter, prevent and repress piracy. EUNAVFOR provides risk assessments to the shipping industry. EUNAVFOR vessels escort ships in case of heightened risk of piracy attacks.
SPS Victoria carries out intelligence and reconnaissance missions (using its helicopter). Important information on the situation at sea is also obtained through engagement with local leaders, friendly approaches and local maritime capacity-building initiatives.
The Force Commander Vizinha Mirones stressed the point that the current lack of piracy events should not create a false sense of safety. A decrease in military presence will likely result in a piracy comeback. Atalanta therefore continues to fulfil a useful and necessary role.