Images: EUNAVFOR 2016
Spanish Navy frigate ESPS Victoria on February 6 left EUNAVFOR’s Operation Atalanta after four months of counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.
Led by Commander Fernando José Suarez Fonseca, the ship’s crew contributed to Operation Atalanta which deters and disrupts piracy to ensure the freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean.
ESPS Victoria handed over counter-piracy duties to another ship of the Spanish Navy, the patrol vessel ESPS Tornado, which officially joined Atalanta on February 6, in Djibouti.
ESPS Tornado began her deployment with the European Union naval task force prior to her arrival in the African harbour: Sailing from her homeport in the Canary Islands, with an embarked SH-60B helicopter and specialist security team, she steamed through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal to reach the area of operations.
Commissioned into the Spanish Navy in 2012, ESPS Tornado is a Meteoro class Offshore Patrol Vessel. This is the ship’s second deployment to Operation Atalanta, the first one being in 2014.
Since departing her home port more than four months ago, ESPS Victoria has sailed more than 20,000 nautical miles patrolling the piracy high risk areas in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden. She has also hosted several meetings with key leaders and cooperated with national and international maritime forces in the area of operations, with more than ten joint exercises at sea.
Commander Fonseca said: “It has been a very productive deployment. Our presence in the area clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of deterrence against pirates. The commanding officer thanked his crew, whose high level of motivation and professionalism was critical to the success of the mission.”