The Italian Almanac


Italian News - March 8

Italian maritime and land forces are pledging their continuous support and presence in the Middle East as part of the global war against terrorism. Their strong involvement in the region began in 2001 and is part of a wide coalition that aims to guarantee a safe and secure environment, says Commander Andrea Gueglio, commanding officer of the Italian Navy frigate Grecale.

The Grecale, with a crew of more than 200, is in Bahrain on a six-day port call - 20 days after arriving in the region as part of the coalition forces assigned to Task Force 152. The 123-metre-long warship was designed to perform a great number of missions, with its principal role as the defence of naval forces and convoys from submarine attacks.

As part of marine security operations, coalition ships such as the Grecale are also authorised to fight pirates in the Gulf waters."The fight against piracy is part of the maritime interception operations, which also includes gathering information on suspicious activities in the waters," said Cmdr Gueglio.

The Grecale left Italy in the end of January for its four-month deployment to the Gulf. The last time the Grecale was here was in 2003, also in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Currently, it is the only Italian ship operating as part of the more than 10 coalition countries supporting the operation in the area. The Grecale can operate very effectively in patrolling the Gulf waters, attacking enemy surface warship and communication at sea and finally supporting amphibious operations.