ABOUT EMASoH/ AGENOR
EMASoH / AGENOR
In 2019 insecurity and instability were growing in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz through multiple maritime and non-maritime incidents. This situation was affecting the freedom of navigation and the security of European and non-European vessels and their crews in the area. Trade and energy supplies were also jeopardized, potentially leading to worldwide economic consequences. In this context, European countries decided to act concretely, aiming to ensure a safe navigation environment in the area and to lower the current tensions by promoting de-escalation mechanisms.
The European-led Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz aims to concretely provide enhanced surveillance capabilities in the area in order to establish maritime situational awareness. Operation AGENOR is the military track of EMASoH and employs surface vessels and air assets provided by willing nations. Those assets, together with diplomatic efforts, reinforce common maritime security. The operation emphasizes European unity, focused on de-escalation, to ensure safe transit in the area. EMASoH intends to defuse tensions and to contribute to a safe navigation environment. It is meant to restore confidence and security, in order to reassure commercial shipping operators.
The mission operates in full accordance with the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as other relevant international conventions and customary law.
The AGENOR Force Head Quarters (FHQ) is located at Abu Dhabi French Naval Base. The partnership with the United Arab Emirates allows EMASoH to be at the frontline and to accurately monitor the overall security situation, to the benefit of regional stability. At the operational level, Operation AGENOR is led by a French Operation Commander with his Operational Headquarter (OHQ). The current Operation Commander is Vice Admiral Emmanuel Slaars. At the tactical level, Task Force 474 is currently led by the Italian Force Commander Rear Admiral Mauro Panebianco. The tactical command of Operation AGENOR has a light military footprint and mainly relies on a multinational force headquarter. The force commander rotates every four to six months between European contributing nations.
As of today, seven out of the nine participating nations are represented in the AGENOR staff: Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy and Norway. These nations, together with Germany and Portugal supporting the diplomatic track, contribute to ensure the freedom of navigation in the Gulf region, Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman based on principles of dialogue and de-escalation.
Area of Operation
AGENOR operates in a Joint Operation Area (JOA) covering the entire Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and a part of the Arabian Sea.
The EMASoH diplomatic track is led by a Senior Civilian Representative (SCR), currently being the Danish Ambassador Jakob Brix Tange. The SCR was appointed by the Political Contact Group (PCG) and works in close coordination with the EMASoH-countries authorities. The diplomatic track aims to identify ways to de-escalate tensions and to promote confidence building in the maritime domain, based on broad regional dialogue on maritime security.
JAKOB BRIX TANGE
His Excellency Jakob Brix Tange is currently holding the position of Danish Special Representative for Maritime Security, including Senior Civilian Representative for the European Maritime Awareness in The Strait of Hormuz.
Previously he worked as Senior Trade Policy Analyst with the OECD. He mainly spent his career within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark where his most recent posting was as Danish Ambassador for Trade Policy within the Danish Full Member of EU Trade Policy Committee. Furthermore, he was posted to the United Kingdom and Nicaragua. He held the position of the Director of Centre for Terror Analysis within the Danish Security and Intelligence Service andmbassador to Afghanistan. Previously he served as Private Secretary for the Danish Foreign Minister. He holds a Master of Political Science from the University of Copenhagen, 1992.
History of Senior Civilian Representatives:
17th of February 2020 – 16th of August 2020
Dutch Ambassador Jeanette Seppen
17th of August 2020 – 31st of August 2021
Danish Ambassador Julie Elisabeth Pruzan-Jorgensen
1st of September 2021 – present
Danish Ambassador Jacob Brix-Tange
At the operational level, Operation AGENOR is led by a French Operation Commander with his Operational Headquarter (OHQ). The current Operation Commander is Rear Admiral Emmanuel Slaars.
History of Force Commanders
Rear Admiral Eric Janicot
20 January 2020 - 20 May 2020
Rear Admiral Carsten Fjord-Larsen
13 January 2021 - 17 April 2021
Captain (Navy) Nicolas du Chene
9 January 2022 - 1 March 2022
Rear Admiral Renaud Flamant
27 January 2023 - 9 June 2023
Captain (Navy) Ludivic Poitou
20 May 2020 - 1 September 2020
Rear Admiral Anders Friis
17 April 2021 - 15 July 2021
Rear Admiral Tanguy Botman
1 March 2022 - 6 July 2022
Rear Admiral Mauro Panebianco
9 June 2023 - 7 December 2023
Captain (Navy) Christophe Cluzel
1 September 2020 - 13 January 2021
Captain (Navy) Bruno de Vericourt
15 July 2021 - 9 January 2022
Rear Admiral Stefano Costantino
6 July 2022 - 27 January 2023
Rear Admiral Hans Huygens
7 December 2023 - Present
Assets of operation AGENOR
Naval and aerial assets are provided by contributing nations to assure the mission at sea. So far, 37 ships have been involved in the mission with more than 4500 seaman and 1100 days at sea. As for the aerial assets, a French Military Patrol Aircraft and Italian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle assure a high eye over the Joint Operation Area (JOA) to maintain a clear situational awareness.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle MQ-9A
The MQ-9 Reaper is an advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Serving as an upgraded version of the MQ-1 Predator, the Reaper boasts a length of 36 feet and a wingspan of 66 feet. Equipped with retractable landing gear, it can take off and land on conventional runways. Remote piloted through a ground control station using satellite communication links, the Reaper can operate at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet and remain airborne for over 24 hours, covering a range of approximately 1,000 nautical miles.
Military Patrol Aircraft
The French Atlantique 2, also known as ATL2, is the primary aerial asset in Operation AGENOR contributing to the situational awareness. It is a long-range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) with great manoeuvrability. The ATL2 is an aircraft dedicated to the air-sea domain, but can also be adapted for air-land missions. It carries different sensors that enables AGENOR to identify and register different ships and areas of interest.
AGENOR is a peacetime military operation in full accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and customary international law. The mission will concretely provide enhanced maritime situation awareness and surveillance through the deployment of additional maritime surveillance assets in the Gulf region and the Arabian Sea. Moreover, the military assets of AGENOR also adhere to their national laws.
The Strait of Hormuz is a “strait used for international navigation” under article 37 of UNCLOS, as it connects one part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone and another part of the high seas or an exclusive economic zone. In accordance with customary international law and article 38 of UNCLOS, all ships benefit from the right of transit passage which shall be unimpeded. This navigation regime is more liberal than innocent passage because aircraft benefit from it and ships can cross international straits according “to their normal modes of continuous and expeditious transit” (article 39 UNCLOS). The coastal States cannot suspend the right of transit passage. However, ships crossing international straits must proceed without delay, refrain from any threat or use of force, and thus transit in a continuous way.