Spanish ESPS Relampago returns from 6-month counter-piracy mission

ESPS Relámpago and ESPS Santa Maria alongside in Djibouti in October 2016. Photo: EUNAVFOR

Spanish Navy’s offshore patrol vessel Relámpago returned home on March 16, concluding a six-month deployment to operation Atalanta, a EU-led counter-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia.

The crew sailed over 28,000 nautical miles, and has conducted over 50 approaches, greeting Somali fishermen and other vessels during counter-piracy patrols.

Relámpago departed its homeport of Las Palmas Naval Station in Canary Islands in October 2016, replacing Spanish frigate Santa Maria.

The ship first sailed under command of Dutch Commodore Luyckx, and later under Spanish Navy Rear Admiral Rafael Fernández-Pintado Muñoz-Rojas who assumed the role of force commander of the operation in February 2017.

The latest deployment was the 35th time Spain has sent to the mission since 2008 while Relámpago marked her third stint off the coast of Somalia.

Also known as BAM (Buque de Acción Marítima), ESPS Relampago is the third of currently four active multipurpose ocean patrol vessels (OPV) in the Spanish Navy. Spain intends to build a total of nine vessels in the class. Measuring 96 meters in length and displacing 2,500 tones, the ships accommodate a crew of 86 and have a SH 60B ‘Seahawk’ helicopter embarked.

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