Spanish warship joins EU Navfor to fight piracy in Africa

Spanish warship ESPS Rayo recently joined the EU Naval Force (EU Navfor) and will be deployed in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden for the next six months. The warship is part of Spain’s contribution to the European Union’s (EU) fight against piracy in the Horn of Africa.

Following an intense period of operational sea training, ESPS Rayo departed from her home port of Las Palmas on November 17 last year, with an AB212 helicopter and a Marines Security Team.

After three weeks of transit, that included navigating through the Suez Canal and the Bab-el- Mandeb strait, ESPS Rayo arrived at the port of Djibouti and berthed close to the Spanish Navy frigate, ESPS Navarra.

ESPS Rayo is a modern, multipurpose Oceanic Patrol Vessel (OPV), capable of accomplishing a wide range of operational tasks.

Commissioned to the Spanish Navy in May 2012, the ship has a displacement of 2,500 tonnes, is 95m long and, for this counterpiracy mission, has a crew of 83 on board.

When deployed as part of the EU Naval Force, warships carry out duties ranging from escorting World Food Programme vessels along the Somali coast, conducting counterpiracy patrols at sea in the piracy high-risk area and meeting local seafarers to strengthen relationships and gain a better understanding of the pattern of life at sea off the Somali coast. When in port, the warships can also work alongside colleagues from EU sister mission, EUCAP Nestor, to help train local navies in maritime skills.

On December 21, while conducting counter-piracy patrols, ESPS Rayo, met local seafarers in the Gulf of Aden. This is the third meeting that the ESPS Rayo crew has had with local fishermen since her departure from Spain.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to as the source.