On 8 May 2016, the Political and Security Committee appointed Brigadier Robert Magowan CBE, an officer from the British Royal Marines, as Operation Commander for the EU Naval Force Somalia- EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta. Brigadier Magowan will replace Major General Martin Smith MBE. He is expected to take up his duties on 3 June 2016.
The European Union Naval Force Somalia Operation Atalanta was launched in December 2008 to contribute to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. The operation is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach for a peaceful, stable and democratic Somalia.
The operation also protects vessels of the World Food Programme and other vulnerable shipping, monitors fishing activities off the coast of Somalia and supports other EU and international missions in the region such as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).