Operation Atalanta

The main purpose of Operation Atalanta is the deterrence and disruption of acts of piracy and armed robbery on the high seas.

Warships apprehend suspected pirates following intelligence reports of pirate activity or sightings by merchant vessels and MPRAs.

The EU launched the European Union Naval Force ATALANTA (EU NAVFOR) in December 2008 within the framework of the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and in accordance with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) and International Law.  

Over 22 European and Non-European nations have contributed to Operation Atalanta, including the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Serbia and the Netherlands.

Area of responsibility

EU NAVFOR operates in an Area of Operations covering the Southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and a large part of the Indian Ocean, including the Seychelles, Mauritius and Comoros. The Area of Operations also includes the Somali coastal territory, as well as its territorial and internal waters. 

This represents an area of about 2,000,000 square nautical miles (approximately 3,700,000 square kilometres). This is an area 1.5 times the size of mainland Europe.

What we are doing

Deterring piracy, protecting ships, increasing maritime security

Why we are there

Part of the European Union’s commitment to protect World Food Programme Vessels and other vulnerable shipping

Commander EU NAVFOR Charlie Stickland

Rank: Major General

Major General Charlie Stickland joined the Royal Marines in 1987. He was promoted to Major General in October 2017 and then appointed Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force (Somalia) and Commander United Kingdom Amphibious Forces (COMUKAMPHIBFOR) on 7 November 2017.

Previous units

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Providing security at sea

The UK has a responsibility to its citizens and its allies to endeavour to safeguard the high seas. This is why the Royal Navy protects home and international waters – making sure the global trade that Britain and the world depend on can proceed without a hitch.

International partnerships

As the fifth largest economy in the world, the UK has responsibilities towards its allies and partners. But Britain also has global ambitions – namely to protect the seaways underpinning the country’s prosperity. The Royal Navy plays a crucial role in fostering these enduring and lasting alliances with other nations.

Location Indian Ocean

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