EU Naval Force - Somalia
Operation ATALANTA


chain of command

Major General Antonio Planells Palau

MG Antonio Planells Palau was born in Madrid on August 16th 1959. He joined the Spanish Navy on August 16th 1978 graduating as First Lieutenant (Marine Corps) on July 16th 1983. In July 1986 he was promoted to Captain. Subsequent promotions dates include: Major (October 1995), Lieutenant-Colonel (July 2001), Colonel (July 2009), Brigadier General on March 22nd 2014 and Major General on January 12th 2018.

His professional career includes, among other posts: First Lieutenant in the Royal Guards (Guardia Real) and the “Tercio de Armada” Fire Support Acquisition & Control Squad. As Captain he was in charge of the Madrid Security Company and later assigned to the Operations Platoon of the Reinforced Landing Group. He also served in the 1st Landing Battalion embarking in the Landing Flotilla Staff and the attack transport ship “ARAGON.” As Major, he was posted to the Spanish Navy Studies Commission, the Marine Corps General Headquarters and appointed Logistics Chief of the Marine Corps Brigade. As Lieutenant-Colonel he was Technical Advisor in the Chief of the Defence Staff Inner Cabinet, Chief of Staff of the “Tercio de Armada,” and First Liaison Officer of the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico (Virginia). As Colonel he was assigned to the Marine Corps Force Staff as Chief of the Plans Section, and was subsequently appointed Director of the Chief of Naval Staff (AJEMA) Inner Cabinet.

From 4th September 2015 until 12th January 2018 he commanded the Amphibious Brigade “Tercio de Armada.”
On the 16th of January 2018 he was appointed Commander of the Spanish Marine Corps. Major General Planells’ international assignments include: United Nations Observer Group in Central America (ONUCA) in 1990, and commanding officer (Major) of a Marine Corps Tactical Sub-group in Bosnia-Herzegovina (SFOR) in 1999.

Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Operation Commander (Op Comd) commands the operation from the Operational Headquarters (OHQ) at Rota, Spain. There he plans and conducts the operation in conjunction with the political and military authorities of the European Union.


Rear Admiral (L.H.) Wilhelm Tobias Abry

Rear Admiral (L.H.) Wilhelm Tobias Abry was born on the 8th of August 1968 . He joined the German Navy in 1988, and on completion of his initial officer training at the Naval Academy Mürwik he studied political sciences and international law at the Bundeswehr University. He holds a Master of Political Science and Public Affairs.

His early sea assignments included Operations Officer, Executive Officer on board several Fast Patrol Boats in the German Navy. On completion of the Principal Warfare Course, RAdm (LH) Abry assumed Command of the Fast Patrol Boat S72-PUMA, and was deployed in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (TF 150) in the Horn of Africa region in 2002.   As Executive Officer Frigate KARLSRUHE he was also deployed in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (TF 150). During his Command of Frigate NIEDERSACHSEN he participated in Operation ATALANTA in 2011.  RAdm (LH) Abry was the Head of Maritime Battle Staff Flotilla 2 in 2014, and during this appointment he rejoined Operation ATALANTA as Chief of Staff Force HQ EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA in 2014/15.

On land, he held various staff positions including Flag Lieutenant to the Head of the Naval Office, Desk officer Operations and Military Policy within the Ministry of Defense.  In NATO,  RAdm (LH) Abry  was desk officer in Operations Division of the Internationals Military Staff NATO HQ, and finally Assistant Chief of Staff of Staff Joint Assessment NATO Joint Force Command in Brunssum, Netherlands.  His last assignment in the Ministry of Defense was Branch Chief Central Affairs in the Office of the Chief of Defense. In 2018 he was appointed as the Commander of the Naval Academy.

Currently, Rear Admiral (LH) Abry is serving in Rota, Spain as Deputy Commander of the European Union counter-piracy operation, EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA.

Deputy Operation Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Deputy Operation Commander (DCom) exercises command in absence of the Operation Commander.


Commodore José Vizinha Mirones

Commodore José Vizinha Mirones was born in 1965 and joined the Portuguese Navy Naval Academy in 1983, graduating with the class of 88. After Fleet training, including involvement in disaster relief in the North Sea, in the aftermath of Piper Alfa oil rig disaster, and exchange with the United States Navy in USS Joseph Hewes, his early years were spent at sea as a Bridge watch-keeper, carrying out fishery protection and maritime security operations.

Principal Warfare Officer in several frigates, was also Head of Department (operations) and Executive officer with operational deployments to the Adriatic, supporting EU and NATO embargo operations in the Adriatic; Mediterranean, namely Operation Enduring Freedom, in the wake of September 11th; Baltic; Artic Ocean and wider Atlantic. He completed the specialist ASW´s course in 1999.

Took command of the M Class Frigate NRP Bartolomeu Dias, in January 2009, as her first Commanding Officer. Promoted to Captain, acted as CTG (EUROMARFOR TG) for two occasions.

His staff and shore appointments have predominantly been in Naval, Joint and Maritime Authority roles, including: direction of the Navy’s ASW and Combat Information School, two tours at the Naval Staff (Plans and Policy and Head of the External Affairs Division), operational planning at Portuguese Joint HQ and Chef of Cabinet of the Maritime Authority’s Director-general. He has also instructed at the ASW Warfare School. More recently, he was Military Advisor to the CHOD.

His education includes: The Naval Staff Course at the Naval War College, Lisboa, the Flag Officers Course and the African Studies Course, both held at the Institute of Higher Military Studies, in Lisboa. He has also graduated from several foreign courses of which the Maritime Warfare Course at HMS Collingwood (UK), NATO´s Crisis Management Course (NATO SCHOOL Oberammergau) and Combined Force Maritime Component Commander Course (U.S. Naval Forces Europe, Naples, Italy) stand out.

Commodore José Mirones personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (Serviços Distintos), Meritorious Service Medal (Mérito Militar), Navy Cross (Cruz Naval) as well as various campaign ribbons and foreign medals.

Commodore José Mirones, is married to Carla and they have three children: two daughters and one son.

He enjoys history and all manner of sports.

Force Commander European Union Naval Force Somalia

The Force Commander (FCdr) exercises command and control of all military forces in the area of operation.


join our newsletter