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Lithuanian soldiers deploying to Operation ATALANTA off the Somali coast


On August 14 deployment ceremony for the 5th Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD) of the Lithuanian Armed Forces was held before leaving for the European Union Naval Force - Operation ATALANTA off the Somali coast. The troops will be protecting a World Food Programme vessel taking humanitarian aid to the Somalian people.

The 5th Lithuanian rotation is planned to take part in the operation for fighting piracy and armed robbery in the Indian Ocean off the coasts of Somalia from mid-August to the end of the year. The AVPD rotation is formed by 12 Lithuanian soldiers trained specifically for the international operation.

According to the Commander of the deploying AVPD, the WFP is particularly vital for the children of Somalia, one of the most vulnerable parts of the society of the country torn by unrest.

"Sustainable food delivery to Somalian people facilitates political and social reform critical for the stabilisation and economic growth of the country. That is why this task is one of the cornerstones of Operation ATALANTA and our detachment," the Lithuanian Navy officer said.

During the operation logistical provision for the AVPD troops will be arranged and coordinated by two soldiers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Logistical Support Command.

The Lithuanian Armed Forces contributed the total of four AVPDs and one Lithuanian Navy officer serving in an operational headquarters aboard an ATALANTA ship in 2013-2018.

Lithuania's contribution to the EU-led international operations helps fighting international crises and strengthens the EU Common Security and Defence Policy. Lithuania has been taking part in Operation ATALANTA since 2011. Currently one Lithuanian staff officer is assigned the operational headquarters in Rota, Spain.

The EU Naval Force- Operation ATALANTA was launched in 2008 in response to the growing numbers of piracy cases off the coast of Somalia. Military vessels taking part in the operation provide escort to the WFP vessels transporting aid to the people of Somalia, deter and seize pirates and armed robbers in the area of operation in the Gulf of Aden and Somalian waters and support other operations and organisations enhancing maritime safety and capabilities in the region.
Military personnel, vessels and aircraft to Operation ATALANTA are assigned by EU member states and partners.


More on Operation ATALANTA:

Photos: AVPD troops training for the EU Naval Force-Operation ATALANTA (credits: Lithuanian Navy)

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