Italian Rear Admiral Fabricio Bondi handed command of the European Union (EU) naval force Atalanta headquarters to a Portuguese commodore with a notable first achieved on his watch.
While he oversaw the EU NavFor Operation Atalanta, the 40th commander of the Indian Ocean tasking, it notched the first of a number of drug busts. This added duty to the Atalanta list of to-dos saw an estimated Euro 200 million worth of narcotics confiscated at sea off East Africa in the Djibouti area.
The change of command took place aboard the Italian frigate ITS Virginio Fasan (F591) with Portuguese commodore Rui Correira the new officer in charge.
The outgoing force headquarters command was thanked for “fully accomplishing mission objectives” ahead of the 23 member new headquarters command taking over. The officers now at the helm of Atalanta operations are from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Colombia, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Montenegro and Djibouti. ESPS Numancia (F83) will be flagship for rotation number 41.
The Atalanta Force Headquarters, under command of the Operation Headquarter (OHQ) in Rota (Spain), is an embarked forward headquarters deployed to Atalanta’s area of operation and responsible for tactical command of all EU NavFor multi-national assets in the area. Its main responsibility is operations at operational and tactical level, in accordance with the mission mandate under OHQ guidance.
Operation Atalanta is deployed in the western Indo-Pacific region. Maritime traffic through the area represents some 38% of world trade with an estimated 60% of the world’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).