Heavyweight Spanish warships supporting EU NAVFORJune 14, 2018 - 09:19
Cooperation is vital in order to deter piracy and to protect vulnerable shipping, such asWorld Food Programme vessels. European warships often transit the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden conducting maritime patrols, and this gives them the opportunity to directly support EU NAVFOR.
EU NAVFOR Italian Flagship ITS Carlo Margottini has rendezvoused with Spanish warships ESPS Blas Del Lezo, a frigate, and ESPS Juan Carlos, an amphibious assault ship equipped with AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft in the Western Indian Ocean. Working together enabled the crew of the Margottini to build upon the skills and experience developed as part of a multi-national counter-piracy exercise last week, alongside warships of the Combined Maritime Forces, based in Bahrain. Improving coordination and integration between ships from different forces operating in the region assists with the rapid identification and interdiction of piracy.
The EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Simone Malvagna, was invited on board the ESPS Juan Carlos by the ship’s commander, Captain Jose Lago Ochoa, to witness the launching of Harrier aircraft from the flight deck. These versatile aircraft are primarily employed on light attack or multi-role missions, ranging from close air support of ground troops to armed reconnaissance. Admiral Malvagna thanked the Captain for his hospitality before returned to the Margottini. On completion of the naval manoeuvres, Margottini sailed past the Spanish warships for a final farewell.
Meetings such as this help to strengthen cooperation and mutual understanding between the different nations and naval forces that are operating in the region. The Margottini continues its Operation Atalanta patrols off the coast of Somalia and the Horn of Africa, deterring acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, and keeping important shipping lanes safe.
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