On 6th of October, whilst in the Indian Ocean ITS Zeffiro handed over the Italian commitment to the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta to ITS Libeccio.
The counter-piracy duties were handed over in Djibouti from Commander Marco Antoniazzi (ITS Zeffiro) to his successor Commander Stefano Calvetti (ITS Libeccio).
During their four months deployment within Operation Atalanta since 6th June, ITS Zeffiro has travelled approximately 27,000 nautical miles in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean. The frigate patrolled in an area approximately 1.5 times the size of Europe. During their mission the Italian frigate provided escorts to four vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP), and conducted four friendly approaches with dhows and skiffs.
This is not the first EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation for ITS Libeccio. The Italian frigate participated in Operation Atalanta in 2010, and was involved in the arrest of 9 suspected pirates and several disruptions. Commander Calvetti stated following the handover, “As Commanding Officer of the Italian Frigate Libeccio and on behalf of my crew, we are proud to join Operation Atalanta, which has achieved the superb result of highly reducing piracy attacks in the Indian Ocean. My crew and I are ready to start this adventure with the other European Union ships to help fight the piracy phenomenon.”
Following the handover ceremony the ITS Zeffiro set sail on a return journey to Taranto harbour.
Press Release, October 14, 2013; Image: EU Navfor