Operation Atalanta Medal Presented to EU Naval Force Crews

On Thursday 30 April the ship’s company and international Force HQ staff based on board the EU Naval Force flagship, HNLMS Johan de Witt, were presented with their Operation Atalanta counter-piracy medal by Force Commander, Rear Admiral Jonas Haggren.

Operation Atalanta Medal Presented to EU Naval Force Crews On Board EU Flagship HNLMS Johan de Witt. Photo: Magnus Lindstedt/Swedish Armed Forces

In his speech Rear Admiral Haggren thanked the sailors and marines for their efforts in helping to keep the seas off the coast of Somalia safer for seafarers:

"I encourage you to remember that we are all, regardless of our rank or position within the taskforce, of equal importance when ensuring the freedom of navigation for thousands of mariners and in the support we give to the Somali people, who are dependent on the safe delivery of World Food Programme aid from the sea."

Before the Force Commander pinned the first Operation Atalanta medal on to the chest of HNLMS Johan de Witt's commanding officer, Captain René Luyckx, he also emphasized the importance of the Force's secondary tasks in the region. 'As you are aware, our secondary tasks have supported the EU's efforts to strengthen security and development in the Horn of Africa region. With other international actors, we have helped to train and develop local maritime forces."

After everyone had received their medal the ceremony concluded with the playing of the European anthem.

Rear Admiral Haggren will hand over his Force command to Rear Admiral Alfonso Gómez Fernández de Córdobaon on Wednesday 6 May. HNLMS Johan de Witt will then set course for her home base of Den Helder in the Netherlands.