The frigate ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ (F-101) departed Ferrol yesterday morning towards Barcelona to relieve the frigate ‘Blas de Lezo’ (F-103) as command ship of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2).
The SNMG-2 is made up of escorts and logistic ships from different NATO nations. Spanish Navy Rear-admiral Eugenio Díaz del Río took command of SNMG-2 last June and will hold command until next year.
The ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ will carry out the second (OCT-13 – MAR-14) of the three scheduled rotations during the Spanish command of SNMG-2. This frigate will subsequently be relieved by the ‘Cristóbal Colón’ (F-105).
While integrated in SNMG-2, the ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ will participate in operation ‘Active Endeavour’ in the Mediterranean from October to November and in operation ‘Ocean Shield’ in the Indian Ocean from December to March.
Operation ‘Active Endeavour’ is a deterrent mission that underscores safeguarding the Mediterranean from terrorist activities, carrying out maritime security operations and enhancing the awareness of the maritime domain.
In Mediterranean waters, the frigate will take part in several NATO exercises and is scheduled to call at the following ports: Casablanca in Morocco, Palermo in Italy, Aksaz and Antalya in Turkey, Souda in Greece and Haifa in Israel.
Operation ‘Ocean Shield’ is the NATO contribution to the international effort to fight piracy in the Horn of Africa.
During the deployment in the Indian Ocean, the F-103 will visit Djibouti, Dubai, Salalah and the Maldives or Mauritius. The ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ will be relieved by the ‘Cristóbal Colón’ in Djibouti.
The ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ has a complement of 180 men and women. Further personnel on board include the International Staff, the UNAEMB (Embarked Air Unit) to support SH-60B helicopter operations, medical personnel and a Marine Corps Security Team.
Press Release, October 10, 2013; Image: Spanish Navy