On January 7 the 5th rotation of the Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD) sent by the Lithuanian Armed Forces to the EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA off the Somali coast will be decorated at a homecoming ceremony in Klaipėda. The Lithuanian soldiers were guarding a World Food Programme-chartered ship taking food assistance to the Somali people during the deployment. The homecoming ceremony will be attended by Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Lithuania Arnoldas Pranckevičius, Commander of the Lithuanian Navy Rear Adm (lower half) Arūnas Mockus, families of the soldiers, and other guests.
The detachment of 12, formed mainly by the Lithuanian Navy and trained specifically for the deployment, spent 124 days in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia guarding a WFP vessel carrying humanitarian aid. According to the AVPD Commander, the World Food Programme aid is vital, especially for the children of Somalia who are one of the most vulnerable parts of the society in the war-torn country. 13 thousand tonnes of food assistance were delivered to different ports in Somalia under the guard of the 5th Lithuanian AVPD.
The Lithuanian AVPD handed over the mission to Serbian colleagues on December 26.
The Lithuanian Armed Forces contributed the total of four AVPDs and one Lithuanian Navy officer serving in an operational headquarters aboard an ATALANTA ship in 2013-2018. Lithuania will continue contributing to the operation: the officer continues serving at the operational headquarters and the next AVPD will be dispatched by the end of the year.
Lithuania's contribution to the EU-led international operations helps fighting international crises and strengthens the EU Common Security and Defence Policy. Lithuania has been taking part in Operation ATALANTA since 2011. Currently one Lithuanian staff officer is assigned the operational headquarters in Rota, Spain. During the operation logistical provision for the AVPD troops was arranged and coordinated by two National Support Element soldiers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Logistical Support Command.
The EU Naval Force- Operation ATALANTA was launched in 2008 in response to the growing numbers of piracy cases off the coast of Somalia. Military vessels taking part in the operation provide escort to the WFP vessels transporting aid to the people of Somalia, deter and seize pirates and armed robbers in the area of operation in the Gulf of Aden and Somalian waters and support other EU international operations and organisations enhancing maritime safety and capabilities in the region. The EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA includes military personnel, vessels and aircraft from EU member and partner countries.
In 2020-2021 Lithuanian soldiers will be deployed to 11 international missions and operations. Lithuanians will continue service in 10 of the ongoing operations and join one more - international maritime security operation in the Straight of Hurmuz. Lithuania continues to prioritizes participation in NATO, NATO coalitions and EU-led international operations, maintains Lithuanian contribution to the United Nations-led operation in Mali, and the national Military Training Operation in Ukraine. Approximately 160 Lithuanian soldiers are planned to take part in international operations over next two years. More info at
Homecoming and decoration ceremony will take place on January 7 at 1300 at the Lithuanian Navy HQ (Naujoji Uosto g. 24, Klaipėda). Please register until January 6, 1700, at firstname.lastname@example.org
POC: Seaman Akvilė Betulė, Lithuanian Navy HQ, +370 46 391 207