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Edited and expanded from press release by Stephen Elliott, Publisher 

Starting on 21 April 2021, VAdm José M. Núñez Torrente (left) assumed the role of Operation Commander of EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta. He took command from RAdm Eugenio Díaz del Río Jáudenes. VAdm Nuñez Torrente is currently serving as Commander of the Spanish High Readiness Maritime Forces.

EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta contributes to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast.

The Operation is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach for a peaceful, stable and democratic Somalia and contributes to stability in the Horn of Africa.

The Handover: RAdm Eugenio Díaz del Río Jáudenes (right) to VAdm José M. Núñez Torrente (left)

Perhaps most importantly, the Operation also protects World Food Programme vessels and other vulnerable shipping – something not evident to those not involved with naval and maritime security matters.  This includes monitoring fishing activities off the coast of Somalia as the Operation supports other EU missions and programmes in this region.

The EU’s comprehensive approach to Somalia includes three complementary missions under the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy:

  • EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta
  • EUCAP Somalia, enhancing Somalia’s maritime civilian law enforcement capacity
  • EUTM Somalia, providing political and strategic military advice to the Somali authorities …and contributing to the development of the Somali National Army’s own training capacity.

The succession decision was adopted by the Political and Security Committee.

All photos from the EUNAVFOR PAO, unless indicated.

Close Up: VAdm José M. Núñez Torrente

Born in Ferrol on 20 November 1964, José Nuñez Torrente (left) was appointed to the Spanish Naval Academy in 1983 and graduated as commissioned Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) on 16 July 1988.

He later went through the US Navy Aviation Cadet Training Program to take the Naval Jet Pilot course within the Training Command. After concluding his flight training, he served with the 8th Squadron, flying the Harrier AV-8S.

His fleet duties at sea included assignments as Communications Officer of Aircraft Carrier “Príncipe de Asturias”, as Commanding Officer of the Patrol Boat “Cándido Perez” and he also commanded Minehunter “Turia”. While in command, “Turia” deployed twice integrated in MCMFORSOUTH. Vice Admiral Nuñez also commanded the First Squadron of the Spanish Mine Counter Measures Force.

Other duty assignments at sea and ashore included Staff Chief Operations, Spanish Fleet Amphibious and Projection Group in Operation Enduring Freedom (2002), Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003) and Chief Operations of the Spanish Aircraft Flotilla. He was later appointed Chief Current Intelligence, STRIKFORNATO HQ in Naples, participating in NRF-12. He was XO and Chief of Studies at the Spanish Naval Academy. After that, he served as Chief Plans in the Maritime Action Force Staff, as Chief of the Officers Section at the Spanish Directorate for Naval Studies and, finally, Superintendent of Spanish Naval Academy.

He specialised in naval Communications, completed the Advanced Command Staff Course in the United Kingdom and has a Master’s Degree in Defense Studies of the King College in London. He also completed the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander Course at the US Naval War College.
In September 2018, he was promoted to Rear Admiral and designated Chief of Staff of the Spanish Fleet on 1 October 2018, where he also served as Chief of Staff for the Maritime Component Commander during National Operations against the COVID-19 pandemic: ‘BALMIS’ and ‘Mission BALUARTE’.

On 23 February 2021, he was promoted to Vice Admiral (OF7) and was assigned as Commander of the High Readiness Maritime HQ of the Spanish Fleet. On April the 21st, he was appointed as EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Commander.

Vice Admiral Nuñez received the Spanish Grand Cross of Naval Merit (below, right), the Spanish Grand Cross of the Royal and Military Order of San Hermenegildo (below, left) and several national and international decorations.

photos: Commons