Spain sends Relampago patrol vessel against Guinea pirates
MADRID ($1=1.00 Euro) — The Spanish Navy’s BAM Relampago has begun a nearly four-month deployment to the west coast of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. During this period, the ship plans to carry out marine surveillance and knowledge of the marine environment activities. The objective is to increase maritime security in the region, threatened mainly by acts of piracy and robbery at sea, illegal trafficking of people, drugs, and weapons, and illegal fishing.
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BAM Relampago will carry out military cooperation activities with littoral countries, the defense headquarters explained, promoting mutual knowledge and trust and helping to increase their capabilities in the field of maritime security, among others, and to improve their coordination and cooperation procedures.
The ship set sail last Sunday from its Arsenal base in Las Palmas [Gran Canaria] with 86 sailors on board. During the four months, it will visit ports in Mauritania, Senegal, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Angola, Nigeria, and Cape Verde. BAM Relampago is the third ship of the Meteor class. It was launched on 6 October 2010 and entered service on 6 February 2012. It has participated several times in Operation Atalanta in the Indian Ocean in support of the World Food Program and the fight against piracy, as well as in numerous exercises.
Designed for security
Maritime action ships are designed to perform missions of maritime security, protection of national maritime interests, and control of spaces of sovereignty and national interest. These ships also carry out maritime police missions, in cooperation with security forces and maritime authorities. Similar missions are operations against drug trafficking or terrorism.
In addition, this class of ships performs maritime traffic control and protection missions. Monitoring and control of fishing and combating marine pollution are also part of their commitments.
Naval Operations Command
The ship will be integrated into the Naval Operations Command [NOC], under the operational control of the Operations Command. The NOC is the organization of the operational structure of the Armed Forces, subordinate to the Chief of the Defense Staff, responsible for planning, conducting, and monitoring surveillance and security operations of maritime spaces of sovereignty, responsibility, and national interest. The NOC is under the command of the Admiral of the Sea and is based in Cartagena.
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