Frigate ‘Victoria’ returns home after participating in Operation ‘Atalanta’.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Friends and family members waiting for the arrival of the ‘Victoria’.
Friends and family members waiting for the arrival of the ‘Victoria’.
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Friends and family members waiting for the arrival of the ‘Victoria’.
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The Fleet Commander welcoming and congratulating the ship’s crew.
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Visit and inspection of a ‘Dhow’.
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Welcoming address of the Fleet Commander

The F-80 frigate ‘Victoria’ returned yesterday to the Rota Naval Base after concluding a four and a half month deployment as part of Operation ‘Atalanta’ fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia and the western Indian Ocean. It has been the sixth time that the ship has taken part in this mission, which is being conducted out by the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR).

The Spanish frigate, belonging to the 41st Escort Squadron, sailed more than 26,000 nautical miles since leaving Rota last October 16th. The increase in piracy in recent months has meant that the frigate Victoria has intervened directly against pirate actions on four occasions, including the case of the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel ‘ALMERAJ-1’ in mid-November, during which the frigate managed to free the vessel and her crew in Somali waters.

During this deployment, the ship has enhanced her capabilities with 2 different airborne units: the ‘Scan Eagle’ drone, whose main mission was surveillance and gathering information from the maritime environment, performing more than 170 flight hours, and an AB-212 helicopter with more than 80 flight hours divided between surface search and close surveillance missions.

In addition to the air assets, the vessel has deployed a special operations team of the Special Naval Warfare Force (Marine Corps) for direct actions against pirate activity. Also on board, a general practitioner (ROLE 1) embarked and during the two most intense operational periods, a reinforced health group (ROLE 2) made up of an anesthesiologist, a surgeon, a traumatology doctor and a nurse were also available.

Since December 4th last year, the ‘Victoria’ became the command ship (or flagship) of the operation, embarking the new Force Commander, ‘Comodoro Fuzileiro’, from the Portuguese Navy with his multinational Staff composed of Portuguese, Italian and Spanish personnel.

It has also served as a platform for meetings with local leaders, cooperating with national and international maritime forces in the area. Since joining the European mission, the Spanish frigate spent more than 134 days away from her base, visiting the ports of Souda (Greece), Berenice (Egypt), Djibouti (Djibouti), Victoria (Seychelles), Mombasa (Kenya) and Salalah (Oman).

On February 20th, the ‘Victoria’ was relieved by her sister ship ‘Canarias’, demonstrating the Navy's commitment to Operation ‘Atalanta’. Spain has been deploying a naval unit in the area of operations uninterruptedly since 2009.


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