BONN, Germany - Spain is the new lead nation of maritime task force 465 on an anti-piracy mission in the waters around the Horn of Africa. German flotilla Adm. Thomas Jugel handed the command of the European Union's flotilla Atalanta over on Dec. 6 to Spanish Capt. Jorge Manso.
Jugel had been commanding the task force of six ships and eight helicopters from Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and France for the past four months.
In a report issued by the German military, he spoke about the decline in the number of successful pirate raids from 50 in 2010 to 20 so far in 2011. According to the German admiral, more and more ships are passing the area registered and preferably in a convoys. In addition, the EU warships in May were granted a more offensive mandate to tackle the situation.
German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière, who visited the troops in Djibouti for the occasion, said he regarded the operation so far as a success. However, he warned that the military mission only fights the symptoms. A final solution requires that constitutional structures be established in Somalia, and the pirate masterminds had to be found and their cash flows cut off, he said.
Just a few days before the change in command, the German parliament voted to extend the country's participation in Atalanta for one more year. In the coming month, the German Navy will take part with about 500 troops, one frigate and a P3-C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The upper limit of the mandate is 1,400 troops.