On August 6th, after passing through the Suez Canal, navigating the Red Sea and crossing the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, the Spanish warship ESPS Meteoro has been integrated into the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta.
The ESPS Meteoro is the first of a series of four modern, multipurpose Ocean Patrol Vessels (OPV) commissioned into the Spanish Navy. The vessel was delivered to the Spanish Navy in July 2011, has a displacement of 2,500 tons, has a length of 95 meters, and has a crew of 86 persons on board including a Naval Special Warfare Unit and an embarked Air Unit.
After an intense phase of logistical and operational preparations for the mission, the Meteoro sailed to the Gulf of Aden where she was integrated into EUNAVFOR. The warship, based in Las Palmas de Gran Canarias (Canary Islands), will remain in the area of operations for a period of four months. On board the Spanish ship is one SH60B helicopter. In mid-September she will embark an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for reconnaissance purpose that will further enhance her ability to search the seas off coastline for pirate activity.
Press Release, August 19, 2013; Image: EU NAVFOR