On 13 March 2014, EU Naval Force warship, ESPS Tornado departed Operation Atalanta’s patrol areas off the Somali coast after completing 105 days and is now heading for her home port of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria.
As the ship set a navigation course for Spain, the Rear Admiral Bléjean, who is the Force Commander at sea spoke about ESPS Tornado’s important contribution in the fight against piracy:
“I want to congratulate all 83 crewmembers of ESPS Tornado, who are now returning home to their families having performed great work. They have helped to keep the seas safe from pirate attack. I wish them all a safe journey, with fair winds and following seas. I feel privileged to have had them in the Operation Atalanta for more than three months”.
During her time with the EU Naval Force, ESPS Tornado, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Juan Jose Belizón Izquierdo, patrolled the piracy high risk areas and performed 18 friendly approaches with local seafarers. The ship also provided much-needed assistance to the crew of a dhow after the vessel got into distress at sea.
Commissioned in 2012, ESPS Tornado is the fourth in the series of modern and multipurpose Ocean Patrol Vessels (OPV) operated by the Spanish Navy.
Press Release, March 17, 2014, 2014; Image: EU Navfor