On 13 January 2011, Rear Admiral Thomas J. Ernst (German Navy) handed over the responsibility of Deputy Operation Commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia, Operation ATALANTA to Rear Admiral Guido Rando (Italian Navy).
The handover was conducted in the Operation Headquarters in Northwood, near London.
Rear Admiral Ernst, who joined the operation in June 2010, has played an important part in the continued success of EU NAVFOR and the execution of the Operation ATALANTA mission.
Rear Admiral Ernst said: “Being part of the command group of EUNAVFOR during the last seven months has been challenging but also very rewarding. We maintained the protection of the World Food Program’s food deliveries into Somalia, continued to secure the transit corridor in the Gulf of Aden and, despite a significant increase of pirate activities in numbers as well as in reach, achieved to lower the success rate of attacks even further. To my successor, Rear Admiral Rando, I wish the best of luck in directing and guiding EUNAVFOR’s future operations.”
Rear Admiral Rando has been a Commanding Officer on the supply vessel ITS SIMETO, the frigate ITS ALISEO and the destroyer Luigi Durand De La Penne.
The destroyer was deployed on Operation MIMOSA during the Israeli and Lebanese crisis in July 2006, during this operation it was the first military ship to enter Beirut harbour after the bombing by the Israeli Air Force, and evacuated from Beirut more than 700 civilian, citizens from Italy and other European countries. Rear Admiral RANDO’s ashore commitments include duties as Instructor and Vice Commandant of Cadets at Naval Academy and different duties to the Navy’s and Defence Joint HQ Personnel Department, as Section Chief of Navy’s and Armed Forces’ Officers
Rear Admiral Rando said: “Being appointed to the demanding position of Deputy Commander is a great honor to me, as for sure this challenging assignment will be among the most important steps in my whole career. However, I would not have been able to start my new job at the EUNAVFOR Head Quarter without the effective and superb support provided by Rear Admiral Ernst during the hand over period. Therefore I warmly thank Rear Admiral Ernst for the outstanding contribution, given not only to our hand over, but also to the overall ATALANTA operation and I wish him all the best for his future.