On Tuesday 3 December, Spanish Ocean Patrol Vessel, ESPS Tornado joined the European Union’s counter piracy task force operating off the coast of Somalia. The warship will be part of the EU Naval Force for four months as Spain’s contribution to Operation Atalanta.
Commissioned in 2012, ESPS Tornado is the fourth in the series of modern and multipurpose OPVs in the Spanish Navy. She is 95 metres in length and has a displacement of 2,500 tonnes. She can accommodate a crew of 86 and has 11 marines and an AB 212 helicopter embarked.
This is the first time that ESPS Tornado has taken part in the EU Naval Force to fight piracy, but it’s not the first time for the class of ship. The other three ships of the Meteoro class have all participated in Atalanta, the last one being ESPS Meteoro, which was part of the 15th rotation of Operation Atalanta for the past four months.
Talking about joining the EU Naval Force, the Commanding Officer of ESPS Tornado, Lieutenant Commander Juan Jose Belizón Izquierdo, said:
“My crew and I are ready to conduct this operation against piracy, helping to bring stability and security around the Horn of Africa. Spain has made a significant contribution to ATALANTA since the operation began back in December 2008.”
Before joining EU Naval Force, ESPS Tornado conducted an intensive programme of training, including “Calificación Operativa” (CALOP) in Cartagena and Rota, Spain.
Press Release, December 05, 2013; Image: EU Navfor