Consisting of the soldiers of the Lithuanian army‘s Navy, the autonomous vessel protection group will guard a ship the United Nations (UN) World Food Program carrying humanitarian food shipments to Somalia via the Indian Ocean.
The autonomous group will include 16 soldiers, mainly troops of the Lithuanian Navy who have undergone special training for the mission, in addition to two war doctors. The Lithuanian group is bringing its weapons and equipment to the mission.
The preparations for the mission were started back in 2014.
This is the second time Lithuania is assigning an autonomous vessel guard group for the EU-led Atalanta operation.
The operation was launched in 2008 in response to the increase in the number of piracy cases off the coasts of Somalia. Ships serving in the operation escort World Food Program ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Somali waters, as they transport aid to the residents of Somalia, deterring and detaining pirates and armed attackers in the region. The operation includes about 1,200 troops from EU nations and partner-countries.