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Rescue ship "Neptuno"
Rescue ship "Neptuno"
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Rescue ship "Neptuno"

The Commanding Officer of the rescue ship “Neptuno” welcomes you “onboard” and appreciates your interest. Here, you will learn about the characteristics and important tasks of this SAR ship.

She is the only Spanish Navy ship in charge of submarine rescue missions and deep-sea diving operations.

Displacement: 1860 T.

Length: 58,5 m.

Beam: 11,3 m.


  • 2 ECHEVARRIA-BURMEISTER & WAIN diesel engines
  • 2 propellers
  • 1 ALCONZA electric engine and 1 fore transversal propeller
  • Sensors:

  • 1 side-scan sonar
  • 1 hull-mounted sonar
  • 1 magnetometer
  • Several soundings
  • Weapons:Portable weapons


  • 2 hyperbaric chambers
  • 1 immersion lifebuoy (depths of up to 90 meters)
  • 1 remote-controlled SCORPION vehicle with an articulated arm (up to 600 meters)
  • Crew: 51 people.

    The ship carries out missions with deep-sea divers (up to 100 meters) and different operations with the remote-controlled “Scorpion” submarine vehicle.

    To carry out these diving operations the ship has a sophisticated gas mixing system (air, helium, oxygen) adequate for each specific depth, and two hyperbaric chambers for decompression and health care in case of diving accidents.

    Divers can operate from diving bells or immersion lifebuoys depending on the mission. The former is used for deeper immersions and the latter for faster but shallow operations.

    Main missions:

    • Support submarine rescue operations with air pumping and re-floating capabilities. Use of a remote operated vehicle (ROV) “Scorpion”. She employs a global positioning system (GPS) and a hydro-acoustic position reference (HPR).
    • Pinpoint underwater objects with her side-scan sonar.
    • Underwater search with ROVs “Scorpion” and “Navajo”.
    • Mine hunting support in mine sweeping and laying operations.
    • Submarine flotilla support in torpedo launching operations.
    • Divers training.

    Algameca Naval Station (Cartagena)

    Divers use immersion lifebuoys and diving bells depending on the depth of the operation.

    Support submarine rescue operations with air pumping and re-floating capability using the remote operated vehicle (ROV) “Scorpion”.

    Global positioning system (GPS) and a hydro-acoustic position reference (HPR).

    Pin down underwater objects with side-scan sonars.

    The ship was built in Gijón (Asturias) in 1975 as an offshore tug for oil rigs. When the vessel was selected for upgrading, she was offered to the Spanish Navy. As the old “Poseidón” was about to be decommissioned, the Navy procured the tug and converted her into a divers support ship. The ship was delivered in 1988 and named “Mar Rojo”. In 1999, after further upgrading, the ship was turned into a Rescue Ship and re-named “Neptuno” (A-20).

    The crew of the “Neptuno” consists of 52 people: 8 officers, 14 NCOs, and 31 leading seamen and ratings.

    As any other Spanish Navy vessel, we train and maintain the ship to be in readiness to operate where and whenever necessary.

    On October 15th 2006, HRH the Prince of Asturias embarked on this ship during the submarine rescue exercise “Cartago 2006”.

    In January 2008, the A-20 took part in the recovery operation of an important consignment of drugs on board the trawler “Ginés y Pedro” sunk off the coast of Murcia. More than 50 bundles of hashish (37 kilos each) were recovered.

    Thanks to an agreement between the Ministries of Defense and Culture signed In August 2008, the ship was assigned to detect and protect shipwrecks in order to safeguard our national underwater heritage.


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