According to a press statement released by the operation headquarters in the French naval base in Abu Dhabi, United Arabs Emirates, Commanding officer Roberto Carpinelli said:
“The integration of ITS Martinengo into EMASOH highlights the importance in operating in a multinational context through the centrality of European countries as an effective tool for developing the concept of collaborative security at sea. The operation represents a very significant moment as an expression of cohesion between all countries involved and it will show the high level of interoperability of the assets aimed to ensure freedom of navigation, reassure civilian shipping and the free flow of global commerce operating in full compliance with International Law,”
The ITS Martinengo embarks two SH-90 ASuW/ASW helicopters and personnel of the Navy Aviation 4th Helicopter Group from Grottaglie air station (near Taranto) and a San Marco Navy Brigade boarding team.
The EMASOH initiative was launched by France in January 2020, based on a common political statement with Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands and Portugal, and more recently being supported by a ninth nation: Norway. The Italian Government approved the participation and deployment of national assets to the initiative last June with the reiteration by Italian Parliament last September of its international commitments for 2021. These are pursued to counter terrorism and stabilize the ‘Enlarged Mediterranean’ area extending outside the Mare Nostrum basin into the Atlantic Ocean down to the Gulf of Guinea, the Black Sea, the Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Persic-Arabian Gulf.
According to the documentation released to Italian Parliament, the European nations naval and airborne assets participation to EMASOH is aimed mainly at protecting national merchant shipping, supporting non-national merchant shipping, strengthening cooperation with other initiatives in the area and contributing to the “maritime situational awareness” of the region’s naval and air space. These assets will also take the necessary measures to prevent and deter hostile acts against national merchant shipping.
This is the first time Italy joins EMASOH in a military way, parallel to the political track. The Italian Navy frigate is expected to participate to the mission for three months. ITS Martinengo has relieved the French Navy Aquitaine-class FS Languedoc (D 653) frigate that has been deployed to AGENOR for over 4 months. During the contributing period, the French frigate two crews conducted 15 crossings of the Strait of Hormuz (SoH), monitoring the merchant shipping of the 9 participating countries, and 7 crossings with close monitoring of dedicated vessels. In this way contributing to the security and freedom of navigation, despite extreme weather conditions and COVID 19 constraints.