The deployment of FNS Pohjanmaa, to take part in EUNAVFOR’s Operation Atalanta, sets a new precedent for the Finnish Navy. Although Finland has provided staff in Force Headquarters and Operational Headquarters in Northwood for the Somalia operation, it is the first time they have directly participated in an international naval military operation with a warship.
Built in 1979, and flagship of the Finnish Navy, the Ice Class 1A minelayer is certainly in uncharted territory, with her 120 crew more used to thick ice and freezing temperatures than the relentless heat near the Horn of Africa.
Operation Atalanta’s main role is to disrupt and deter piracy off the coast of Somalia. The multi-national naval force provides escorts for merchant vessels carrying humanitarian aid from the World Food Program.