A month on, Atalanta commander reflects on new mandate


A command insight into Operation Atalanta, the EU naval tasking off the Horn of Africa, comes from Commodore Diogo Arroteia.

The senior Portuguese Navy officer has 293 men and women under his command as he enforces maritime safety and security in its broadest sense in the Indian Ocean waters off Africa’s east coast.

“They continuously ensure the maritime domain in the Horn of Africa region is ever safer for merchant shipping and allows international humanitarian aid to reach the Somali people.

“Is this an easy task? Not at all. In an area of operations the size of Western Europe, operational flexibility and co-ordination with other forces in the region are the key to success, resulting in the last act of piracy occurring in April 2019. The maritime domain is used for other illicit activities inter-connected and sometimes supporting each other and serving as a source of funding for illegal organisations such as terrorist groups,” he said in a EUNavFor Operation Atalanta statement.

“Adding secondary executive tasks, such as counter-weapons and counter-narcotics smuggling, contributes to implementation of the UN arms embargo in Somalia and supports the fight against terrorist groups. In addition to being a challenge is also an opportunity to strengthen the importance of EUNavFor as a contributor to international security and improve safety in the region. I guarantee Task Force 465 will continue, day and night, to ensure the safety of those who sail these seas for legal purposes.”