Spanish fleet replenishment ship ‘Cantabria’ has returned to her home port in Ferrol, Spain after spending a year deployed to Australia where she integrated with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The ship has supplied more than 12,000 tons of fuel and sailed 43,200 miles during 215 days at sea.
Since her departure from Sydney on November 1st, the ship has made three logistics calls at Jakarta (Indonesia), Goa (India) and Aksaz (Turkey). During the cruise through the Indian Ocean, the Cantabria has replenished other Spanish Navy units operating in the area; namely the OPV Tornado and the F-100 frigate Álvaro de Bazán, as well as warships from other nationalities fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa.
In November 2012, the Chiefs of Staff of the Spanish and Australian Navies signed a Project Agreement which set the terms and conditions for the deployment of Cantabria in Australia during 2013.
The aim was to increase the capacity of logistic support to naval groups in the RAN during scheduled activities and exercises to enhance interoperability between the two navies while at the same time training and testing the capabilities of the ship on a long-term deployment.
On January 3, Cantabria set out to sea and started her journey to join the RAN. The ship arrived at Garden Island Naval Base, Sydney in February which became her adopted homeport during the nine-month deployment within RAN.
During this period, Cantabria has participated in numerous exercises and provided valuable logistical support to RAN ships, carrying out a total of 58 replenisments at sea.
Apart from Sydney and Melbourne, Cantabria visited Australian ports Adelaide, Darwin and Cairns. She also joined the Australian Defence Force in celebrating the ANZAC Day. Cantabria participated in the multinational exercise Talisman Saber 2013 and Triton Centenary 2013, which saw participation of numerous navies of the Asia-Pacific region.
The culmination of her deployment in Australia was the privilege of leading the Fifth Division of the International Fleet Review, organized to commemorate the centenary of the entry of the first Australian Fleet in Sydney.
Naval Today Staff, January 2, 2014; Image: Spanish Navy