Spanish frigate ESPS Santa Maria completed her six month deployment with operation Atalanta off the coast of Somalia and handed over her duties to another Spanish warship, ESPS Relampago, on October 24.
During her deployment, ESPS Santa Maria conducted patrols at sea in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean to deter any potential pirate attacks, as well as joint training with Seychelles maritime forces.
Before she departed the sea area to return home to Spain, ESPS Santa Maria’s sailors gathered on the flight deck for an Operation Atalanta medal parade, when force commander, Commodore Luyckx, took the opportunity to thank and congratulate the crew.
This is the third time that ESPS Relampago has deployed with Operation Atalanta. She was previously deployed to the EU’s counter-piracy operation in 2014 and 2012.
Commissioned in 2012, ESPS Relampago is the third in the series of modern and multipurpose ocean patrol vessels (OPV) in the Spanish Navy. She is 96 meters long and displaces 2,500 tones. She can accommodate a crew of eighty six and has sixteen marines and a SH 60B ‘Seahawk’ helicopter embarked.
Before joining Operation Atalanta, ESPS Relampago carried out a training program which included exercise Calificación Operativa (CALOP) in Cartagena and Rota, Spain, with a focus on counter-piracy operations.