France, Belgium Take Command of EU NAVFOR FHQ
At a ceremony in Djibouti on board the EU NAVFOR Swedish warship, HSwMS Carlkrona, Force Commander Rear Admiral (LH) Jan Thörnqvist who has been the Force Commander of EU NAVFOR Operation ATALANTA for the last four months, handed over to Rear Admiral Philippe Coindreau of France. He will lead the multinational Force Headquarters onboard the EU NAVFOR French warship De Grasse for the next four months.
On Saturday 14 August the hand over took place on board HSwMS Carlskrona and the Commanders exchanged information regarding Operation ATALANTA. De Grasse now becomes the new flagship of the European Union Naval Force – Operation ATALANTA. HSwMS Carlskrona will remain as a unit within EU NAVFOR until November.
“EU NAVFOR has in this four month period disrupted more than twenty Pirate Action Groups and confiscated a vast amount of pirate paraphernalia – stopping more than 250 suspected pirates from conducting attacks. We have conducted 11 World Food Programme escorts which have delivered 90 000 metric tons of food aid”, said Swedish Rear Admiral Jan Thörnqvist, and continued: “I hereby want to welcome and congratulate my relief, Rear Admiral Philipe Coindreau, his deputy Captain Michel Hofman, their FHQ Staff and the ship’s company on board De Grasse to EU NAVFOR and Operation ATALANTA.”
The new EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Philippe Coindreau thanked Rear Admiral Jan Thörnqvist and stated. ”On board De Grasse we will, for four months, do our best to continue the successful work of Admiral Thörnqvist in support of the objectives of EU NAVFOR Operation ATALANTA: the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia, protect vulnerable vessels, deterring and preventing acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast.”