As of Thursday 13 March, the Spanish Offshore Patrol Vessel, ESPS Relámpago joined the EU Naval Force to carry out counter-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia. ESPS Relámpago has replaced ESPS Tornado as the Spanish contribution to Operation Atalanta. ESPS Tornado is now on her way back home.
With the crew of 83, ESPS Relámpago will be part of the EU Naval Force for a period of four months.
Speaking about Spain’s contribution to the EU Naval Force, the Deputy Commander of EU Naval Force, Rear Admiral Bartolomé Bauzá said: “I am very pleased to see Spain’s on-going contribution to Operation Atalanta. Even though there has been a decrease in pirate attacks over the past year, I am very much aware that the threat is still present. It is important that we remain vigilant and maintain our efforts in helping to keep the waters of the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean safe for seafarers.”
This is the second time ESPS Relámpago has joined the EU Force as it also participated in the operation in 2012.
EU Naval Force has four ships and three aircraft in its area of operations.
Press Release, March 14, 2014, 2014; Image: EU Navfor