Head of Operation Atalanta: ‘Piracy in Somalia is still latent’
Vice Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave, a Spanish national, speaks during an interview with EFE in the EU's diplomatic compound built inside Mogadishu's international airport secure perimeter in Mogadishu, Somalia, 25 September 2019. EFE/EPA/DAI KUROKAWA
Mogadishu (EFE-EPA).- Piracy that plagued the waters of Somalia has been eradicated in the last decade, but it is still a "latent" issue, commander of Operation Atalanta Vice Admiral Antonio Martorell has warned.
"Piracy in Somalia is eradicated, but not suppressed," he said during an interview with Efe at the Delegation of the European Union to Somalia in Mogadishu, which houses embassies, United Nations offices and troops from the African Union peace mission in the country.
Martorell met this week with the Prime Minister of Somalia Hassan Ali Khaire and other authorities, before assigning command of the European naval mission against piracy in the Indian Ocean to Antonio Planells Palau next Tuesday.
The EU launched Operation Atalanta in 2008 in the face of attacks by pirates to protect ships of the UN World Food Program in the waters of the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden, prevent armed robberies at sea and monitor fishing activity on the Somali coast.
"It is an immense area. In my area of ??operations fits all of Western Europe," the commander said.
"This - precisely - is a fundamental strategic area for the interests of the European Union. A large percentage of our maritime traffic circulates here."
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