"The Council today extended the mandate of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta until 31 December 2020. The Council also decided to relocate the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Operational Headquarters from Northwood (UK) to Rota (Spain), and to Brest (France) for the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) as of 29 March 2019," the statement said.
On the same day, Spanish Navy Vice Adm. Antonio Martorell Lacave will replace Maj. Gen. Charlie Stickland as Operation Atalanta commander, the statement added.
In 2008, the European Union along with a number of non-EU members states launched the anti-piracy operation dubbed Atalanta. The vessels of the participating countries have been patrolling shipping routes off the shores of the Horn of Africa since December 2008. In November, the Council of the European Union extended the mandate of the operation until December 2018.