In the exclusive interview series, this time we have the honour of hearing views from Force Commander in Operation Atalanta, Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack on the various aspects of Atalanta and its luminous success.
Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack, Force Commander in Operation Atalanta. June 2016 © German Navy/US EU World Affairs.com
Q: In your ceremonial speech, on assuming the position as the Force Commander, you indicated the necessity of remaining vigilant and the continuation of the Military presence in the Operation Atalanta (in the region).
- Could you please expatiate on that.
Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack: Think of our mission as the bandage and dressing applied to the heavily bleeding wound of an otherwise health casualty. The wound is not going to kill the patient instantly. You have time to think about what to do next. Once you start applying pressure to the bandage, the bleeding stops almost instantly, which is good. But the very moment you ease on the pressure, the bleeding will start again. So, you need to be patient while keeping up the pressure.
And I can assure you: they are still out there! Their intentions and capabilities to resume their old business models are still existent. It has, however, so far been our common effort, military and shipping industry, that their opportunities to operate have been cut-off. And this might well be the case for the foreseeable future… as long as we – together – keep the pressure.
According to a World Bank report (Nov 2013), between 2008 – 2012 pirate leaders received over 350 million Euros in ransoms. Young men can earn up to 30,000 dollars from a successful pirating. I do not see them giving up on these potential gains easily.
Q: With the current unrest in the Northern Africa and Yemen, how do you assess the Security Environment in the Southern Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden?
Rear Admiral Jan C. Kaack: Of course we are always keeping an eye on the political developments in and around our area of operation. Because this might have an impact on our operation as well. For the forces under my command it is clearly the situation on Yemenite soil that has to be watched and assessed constantly. Thus far, the deteriorating security situation ashore does not effect dramatically our operations. It is more the side effects of the developing security environment on the Arabian peninsula and the horn of Africa, that we have to be aware of. Human trafficking, weapon smuggling, you name it…
You might remember, that my flagship, BAYERN, has just recently saved 92 lives from drowning.
Furthermore our protégés of this operation, the ships of the World Food Programme, are regularly approaching Yemeni harbours and thus need to be protected until we can hand them over to security forces at the TTW of YEM.