The Spanish Navy’s frigate ‘Cristóbal Colón’ (F-105) arrived at Ferrol after 136 days away from her home base integrated into the Second Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG-2).
During those days the ship participated in the counter-piracy operation ‘Ocean Shield’ in the Indian Ocean and the counter-terrorist operation ‘Active Endeavour’ in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Commander of the Naval Action Group 1 (COMGRUP-1 in its Spanish initials), Rear-admiral Antonio Pintos, welcomed the frigate and her crew congratulating them for the success of the mission.
Since her departure on February 24th the ship sailed more than 29,000 nautical miles during 107 days at sea with 11 ports of call in three continents and 13 replenishments at sea with allied auxiliary ships. Her embarked helicopter conducted around 120 takeoffs and landings.
The ‘Cristóbal Colón’ was SNMG-2’s flagship under the command of Rear-admiral Eugenio Díaz del Río. The group was made up of an assortment of frigates and supply ships from different NATO nations.
Participation in operation ‘Ocean Shield’
By mid-March the F-105 integrated into operation ‘Ocean Shield’, NATO’s contribution to the international effort to fight piracy in the Horn of Africa.
The ‘Cristóbal Colón’ conducted several patrols in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) and off the coast of Somalia participating in meetings with regional authorities and providing medical aid to local fishermen. Other activities included training drills with regional Navies to help them fight piracy, and participation in different exercises with other allied units deployed in the area.
During operation ‘Ocean Shield’ the ship called at the following ports: Djibouti, Doha (Qatar), Salalah (Oman), Port Victoria (Seychelles), Dubai (UAE), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and Istanbul (Turkey). On March the 15th the frigate welcomed the Spanish Minister of Defense Pedro Morenés.
Deployment in operation ‘Active Endeavour’
The Spanish frigate also participated in operation ‘Active Endeavour’ conducting maritime security operations in the Mediterranean Sea contributing to deter, defend and protect the Alliance against possible terrorist actions. In this deployment the selected ports of call were Naples (Italy) and Málaga.
Transit to Ferrol
The F-105 arrived at Ferrol after 2 day’s runs from Málaga where she was relieved as SNMG-2’s flagship by the US Navy cruiser ‘Leyte Gulf’ under the command of Rear-admiral Brad Williamson.