dinsdag 6 augustus 2013

The Netherlands takes over Force Command of Operation Atalanta

New Force Commander:
Commodore Peter
Lenselink, RNLN
Earlier today, Tuesday 6 August, Commodore Jorge Novo Palma Portuguese Navy handed over the Force Command of EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta to Commodore Peter Lenselink Royal Netherlands Navy during a change of command ceremony aboard NRP Álvares Cabral in the Port of Djibouti.

Deputy Operation Commander of EU Naval Force Rear Admiral Jean Martens presided over the handover.

The outgoing Force Commander reflected on a very successful four months in command:

“During the past four months there were no confirmed attacks on merchant vessels within the area of operations and it has been over a year since the last ship was hijacked by pirates.  Also the protection of World Food Programme aid ships by EU Naval Force warships has ensured that over 21,000 tonnes of food and other aid have been safely delivered to the Somalia people. To all the units that have been part of EU NAVFOR force, the crew of the flagship and the Force Headquarters staff, I want to express to all of you that is has been an honour and a privilege to work with you and share the accomplishment of our mission.”

During Commodore Palma’s time as Force Commander, the EU Naval Force continued to strengthen links with regional states and continued with the maritime  capacity building programme throughout the area of operations.  EU Naval Force also hosted a meeting between members of the Somali Federal Government and the EU on board NRP Alvares Cabral off the coast of Mogadishu.  NRP Alvares Cabral was the first EU Naval Force ship to visit the port of Mozambique.

New flagship: HNLMS Johan de Witt 
The new Force Commander Commodore Peter Lenselink will command the EU Naval Force from the Dutch Warship HNLMS Johan de Witt for the next 4 months.  During the handover ceremony he stated, “I am very honored to fulfill this important task.  It is my intention to continue to command the operation in the same proactive and engaging was as my predecessors, vigorously executing the mandate of EUNAVFOR operation Atalanta . It is also my intention to work as closely as possible with the other EU missions that operate in the region, EUTM and EUCAP NESTOR, in order to support the EU’s comprehensive approach”.

Following the transfer of command, the Deputy Operation Commander of EU NAVFOR, Rear Admiral Jean Martens, thanked Commodore Palma for his achievements and welcomed Commodore Lenselink.  He went on to say that:

“We should always remember that the reduction in pirate attacks is entirely reversible until Somalia is able to police and protect its own waters. The European Union Naval Force will advise Somalia in developing a maritime security strategy and will continue to deter and disrupt piracy. At the same time, we will help support the EU’s comprehensive approach to Somalia in cooperation with other EU Missions and the other counter piracy operations from NATO and Combined Maritime Forces.”

The ceremony was attended by distinguished guests from many nations as well as representatives from the Djiboutian Authorities, other EU Missions and representatives of the units of EU Naval Force.

EU NAVFOR Operation ATALANTA main tasks are to escort merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid of the World Food Program (WFP) and vessels of AMISOM, and to protect vulnerable ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean and to deter and disrupt piracy. EUNAVFOR also monitors fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

Joint Operations Room, HNLMS Johan de Witt

Force Commander: Commodore Peter Lenselink

The Force Commander exercises command and control of all military forces in the Area of Operation. He is responsible for the planning, orchestration and execution of military activities.

Commodore Peter William Lenselink was born in 1958 in Vught (NL). During his schooldays he lived in Germany ( 1967 – 1970) and in Surinam (1971- 1974). In 1976 he joined the Royal Netherlands Naval College as Midshipman. He was commissioned as Naval Officer in 1979. Between 1979 and 1983 he served as watchkeeping and flightdeck officer on HNLMS Van Speijk and HNLMS Bloys van Treslong.

On completion of the maritime warfare course in 1984 he served as warfare officer/ASW specialist on board frigates. In 1988 he joined the Operational School as instructor Anti Submarine Warfare. In 1989 he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and became Head of the Operational Trainer Department. He returned to the fleet again in 1991 as Operations Officer of HNLMS Bloys van Treslong. During this period he served for the fourth time in NATO’s Standing Naval Force Atlantic. After this tour he was selected for the long staff course at Defence Staff College ‘Ypenberg’.

After graduation in December 1993 he was appointed Flag Lieutenant to the Commander-in- Chief Royal Netherlands Navy, followed by a tour as Staff Officer Operations in the Belgian –Netherlands Destroyer Squadron. He assumed command of the frigate HNLMS Philips van Almonde in 1997. During this tour the ship was deployed for 6 months as West Indian Guard Ship.

In November 1998 he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Belgian Netherlands Task Group. February 2000 he joined the Naval Staff at The Hague as Deputy Director International Plans and Policy/ Foreign Liaison Officer.

In April 2002, promoted to Captain, he was appointed Executive Assistant to the Commander-in- Chief Royal Netherlands Navy. December 2004 he returned to the fleet to take command of the Sea Training Command.

 On 10 June 2007 he was promoted to Commodore. He took over command as Flag Officer Netherlands Forces in the Caribbean (FONLFORCARIB) on 28 June 2007. In that capacity he was also Director of the Coast Guard for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (DCGNA&A) and Commander Task Group 4.4. (CTG 4.4). In July 2010 he became Commander Netherlands Maritime Force (COMNLMARFOR).

Commodore Lenselink and his wife Anne Mieke live with their children Tim (1996) and Julia (1998) in Voorschoten, The Netherlands. He is interested in international affairs, architecture and sports (tennis, running and swimming).

(EU Navfor, 6 August 2013)

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