On 25 June 2022, the Italian navy frigate “Luigi Rizzo” (F 595) has returned to La Spezia at the end of its 124-day operational engagement in the Gulf of Guinea after having travelled some 18,000 miles, helping to ensure freedom of navigation and the security of maritime communication lines.
The Gulf of Guinea is of fundamental importance to Italian national interests from an economic, geopolitical and energy supply perspective. Having become a hotspot of maritime piracy in recent years, the Gulf of Guinea is at the centre of efforts by coastal countries and the international community to eradicate this crime and allow the free and sustainable use of the sea and its resources for the development of economic activities and trade for the benefit of the global economy and the more than 500 million inhabitants who populate the 2,000 nautical miles of coastline of the Gulf.
The most important intervention intervention conducted by ITS Rizzo was on the night between 3 and 4 April to rescue the merchant ship Arch. Gabriel, a unit flying the flag of the Marshall Islands and victim of a pirate attack about 280 miles south of Lagos, Nigeria. The intervention of the Italian Navy unit ensured the safety of the crew and the return of control of the ship to its captain. During the period of the Italian unit’s presence in the area, no seafarers were abducted, an unfortunately recurring event in past years and a source of great concern for seafarers.
Thanks to the intense and fruitful cooperation with the national maritime cluster, numerous anti-piracy exercises were carried out with the cooperation of nationally-flagged ships, employing the organic helicopters on board to send the boarding team of the San Marco Marine Brigade to the merchant ships.
On its return to La Spezia, headquarters of the First Naval Division on which the unit depends, ship Rizzo was welcomed, amidst the notes of the departmental band of the Northern Maritime Command, by the families of the crew members ready to re-embrace their loved ones after the long voyage.
(via Italian Navy)