ESPS Rayo Joins EU Naval Force Operation AtalantaDecember 10, 2014 - 09:50
On Monday 8 December Spanish warship ESPS Rayo joined the EU Naval Force. The ship will be deployed at sea in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden for the next 6 months.
Following an intense period of operational sea training, ESPS Rayo departed her home port of Las Palmas on 17 November, with an AB212 helicopter and a Marines Security Team embarked.
After three weeks of transit, that included navigating through the Suez Canal and Bab-el-Mandeb strait, ESPS Rayo arrived in the port of Djibouti and berthed close to Spanish Navy frigate, ESPS Navarra. The ships’ crews then spent a period of time handing over their respective duties as part of the Spanish Navy’s commitment to EU counter-piracy operations.
ESPS Rayo is a modern, multi-purpose 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 95 metres long and, for this counter-piracy mission, has a crew of 83 on board. This is the second time that ESPS Rayo has participated in Operation Atalanta.
When deployed as part of the EU Naval Force, warships carry out a range of duties, ranging from escorting World Food Programme vessels along the Somali coast, conducting counter-piracy 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.
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