On Friday March 23, 2012, the Council of the European Union confirmed its intention to extend the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) counter-piracy mission, Operation ATLANATA off the Somali coast until December 2014. At the same time the Council also extended the area of operations to include Somali coastal territory and internal waters.
This decision will enable Operation Atalanta Forces to work directly with the Transitional Federal Government and other Somali entities to support their fight against piracy in the coastal areas. In accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, the Somali government has notified the UN Secretary General of its acceptance of the EU’s offer for this new collaboration.
Speaking about the extension of the mandate and area of operations, Rear Admiral Duncan Potts, who is the Operational Commander of the EU Naval Force, said “The extension of the mandate until the end of 2014 confirms the EU’s commitment to fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa. Piracy has caused so much misery to the Somali people and to the crews of ships transiting the area and it is right that we continue to move forward in our efforts”.
European Counter Piracy Naval Forces Strengthened by Two French Warships
Also as of March 23, 2012, the Counter-Piracy force of the European Union (EUNAVFOR) which normally includes between 4 and 7 warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Horn of Africa will be joined by two new warships of the French navy; Frigate FS GEORGES LEYGUES and Amphibious Assault Ship FS DIXMUDE.
FS GEORGES LEYGUES, named after the 19th Century French Navy minister and commissioned in 1979, is a multi role frigate. In addition to its high top speed, the ships two Lynx helicopters will significantly increase the EU forces capability to patrol the Indian Ocean and disrupt potential pirates.
On the same day the helicopter carrier FS DIXMUDE, the French Navy’s newest warship also joins the counter-piracy operation. At over 20,000 tons the DIXMUDE is capable of acting as a sea borne, mobile operating base for up to 16 helicopters, adding to the speed of response and reach of EU NAVFOR.
Source: EU NAVFOR Somalia - http://www.eunavfor.eu