The Hellenic Navy frigate Hydra is on its way back to Greece, as scheduled, and the HS Psara is preparing to depart from Greece from Monday, as part of Operation ASPIDES.

The HS Hydra is expected to arrive at the naval port of Salamina on Thursday, in order for the crew to be able to vote in European Parliament election this Sunday.  The elections are the same reason that the HS Psara will not depart earlier than Monday.

The ‘changing of the guard’ was pre-scheduled and both frigates are participating in the EUNAVFOR ASPIDES operation, which aims to secure the free passage of commercial vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf.

The operation was launched following a deterioration of security in the region stemming from Houthi and pirate attacks at sea. Since October 2023, numerous Houthi attacks have targeted vessels in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman, including several Greek-owned vessels, jeopardizing the lives of crewmembers on merchant and commercial ships.

At the time of the launch of the operation, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell stated that: “With the launch of EUNAVFOR ASPIDES, the European Union is responding swiftly to the necessity to restore maritime security and freedom of navigation in a highly strategic maritime corridor. The operation will play a key role in safeguarding commercial and security interests, for the sake of the EU and the wider international community.”

Operation ASPIDES coordinates with the EUNAVFOR ATALANTA, formally European Union Naval Force Somalia, which is an ongoing counter-piracy military operation at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean, to boost maritime security in its area of operation.

The Greek armed forces take part regularly in allied military training operations showing a consistent commitment to security goals.