On 13 July 2012, Rear Admiral Rainer Endres (German Navy) handed over the role of Deputy Operation Commander (DCOM) of the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia – Operation Atalanta to Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi (Italian Navy).The handover was conducted at the EU NAVFOR Operation Headquarters (OHQ) in Northwood, near London.
Rear Admiral Endres joined Operation Atalanta OHQ on 12 January 2012 and he will now return to Germany as Director Naval Development, Training and Education at the German Naval Office in Rostock.
Speaking about his time at Northwood Rear Admiral Endres said: “Operation Atlanta has continued to play a decisive role in the international efforts to combat the piracy menace. I am delighted that pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa have significantly reduced over the last year, with EU NAVFOR continuing to apply pressure to the pirates’ criminal business model both at sea and on the beach. That said, we must always remember that there are still far too many innocent individuals being held hostage by pirates in appalling conditions and the reduction in attacks is entirely reversible as the strategic situation in Somalia has not changed.
Piracy has not gone away and we must not become complacent. I strongly believe that Atalanta has much to contribute to the EU`s Comprehensive Approach for Somalia to tackle the root causes of piracy and I am convinced that this will become a future key element of our operation.
I have very much enjoyed being part of a great team, working with highly professional and motivated men and women in the OHQ, the Force HQ and our forces at sea and in the region. To my successor and all those engaged in counter piracy business I wish continued success, the best of luck and fair winds and following seas.”
Rear Admiral Mattesi joined the Italian Navy in 1978 and after achieving his commission he began flying training at the flight training school in Pensacola, Florida. He went on to command Minesweeper ITS Storione between September 1989 – October 1990, frigate ITS Zeffiro August 1998 – July 1999 and the 1st Corvette Squadron July 1999 – September 2000.
From September 2000 – September 2004 he was appointed to the Italian MOD Defence Cabinet and on completion of this busy role he was appointed commanding officer of the destroyer Durend De La Penne until November 2005. From November 2005 – August 2010 he was appointed as Deputy Chief of Defence (CHOD) Military Assistant.
Promoted Rear Admiral on July 1 2010, he was appointed Deputy Commander Italian Maritime Forces (DComItMarFor) and selected as Commander Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (COMSNMG1), where he gained first-hand experience of counter-piracy operations off Somalia.
Speaking about his new appointment, Rear Admiral Mattesi said:
“I am delighted to be appointed as DCOM to the EU NAVFOR OHQ. I bring with me extensive counter-piracy experience and I am ready for the challenges that lie ahead. The extension of our mandate that allows action against pirate logistic dumps has already achieved results in denying pirates a sense of impunity on the shoreline and I am keen to build on this success.
We will continue to work with our counter-piracy partners to keep the pressure on pirates so that ships’ crews can feel safer transiting the waters off the Horn of Africa.”