At a ceremony in the Red Sea onboard the EU NAVFOR Spanish warship Numancia Force Commander Captain (N) Juan Garat Caramé, handed over Command of the FHQ to Commodore Pieter Bindt of the Netherlands. Commodore Bindt will lead the multinational FHQ from the EU NAVFOR Netherlands warship HNLMS Evertsen for the next four months.
The EU NAVFOR warships Numancia and Evertsen met north of the narrow straight Bab al Mandeb, in the southern Red Sea. The hand over took place onboard Numancia and the Commanders exchanged information relating to Operation Atalanta and the challenges ahead. Evertsen now heads for the Gulf of Aden as the new flagship of the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Operation Atalanta, the first naval European Security Defence Policy (ESDP) mission for the European Union. Numancia will now proceed to Spain after nearly five months at sea.
Captain Careme stated ”I would like to take the opportunity to thank the crew of Numancia and all other ships under my command including France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and all multinational staff from other participating nations. It has been a privilege to serve with them. I wish Commodore Bindt and the Netherlands all the best during their mission”.
The new EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Commodore Bindt thanked Captain Caramé and stated. ”Evertsen will continue to build on the successful work of Captain Caramé and the units under his Command, in support of the objectives of EU NAVFOR operation Atalanta”. The primary objectives handed over to the new Commander of the FHQ are: the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia, protecting vulnerable vessels sailing through the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast and deterring, preventing and repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast.