Italian Navy frigate ITS Espero is en route to her homeport after over two months of counter-piracy patrols off the Horn of Africa as part of the EUNAVFOR operation Atalanta.
During her 108-day deployment ITS Espero’s ship’s company helped deter and suppress pirate attacks which started again in 2017 after several years of stagnancy.
During the patrols ITS Espero’s marines met local Somali fishermen to explain the role of EU NAVFOR and to provide reassurance.
During port calls ITS Espero’s commanding officer, Commander Luigi Pirozzi, met regional partners and his crew assisted staff from EU sister mission, EUCAP Somalia, to train local maritime forces.
Speaking about the deployment, EU NAVFOR’s Force Commander, Rear Admiral Rafael Fernández-Pintado Muñoz-Rojas, said: “I want to thank Commander Luigi and his ship’s company for their professionalism and untiring commitment. They can return home to their families knowing that they have made a valuable contribution to the safe transit of seafarers, merchant ships and World Food Programme humanitarian aid vessels. I wish them all a safe journey home and some well-deserved rest.”
As part of Italy’s contribution to the European Union’s counter-piracy operations, Italian Navy frigate ITS Fasan will join EU NAVFOR on July 27 as the new flagship.