Canary Islands: Rayo Returns Home after Busy Deployment

Rayo Returns Home after Busy Deployment

Spanish maritime action ship ‘Rayo’ arrived at her home port in Las Palmas (Canary Islands) on June 28th after a six-month deployment. During this period, the ship participated in operation ‘Atalanta’ aimed against pirate activities in the Indian Ocean and in a cruise around the African coast visiting ten countries.

The welcoming ceremony was presided over by Las Palmas Naval Commander, Captain Félix Díaz Espinar.

On February 3rd, the offshore patrol boat departed Las Palmas towards Cartagena and on the 15th set sail towards the operations zone off the coast of Somalia.

The ship integrated into the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) for a period of 85 days participating in shipping control missions in the IRTC (International Recommended Transit Corridor) and escorting World Food Program ships.

Rayo Returns Home

The deployment of the ‘Rayo’, the second ship of her class in operation ‘Atalanta’, is part of Spain’s commitment to participate in the EU mission to uphold maritime security in the Gulf of Aden and Somalia, protecting merchant shipping and trawlers fishing in those waters.

Subsequently, and as part of the collaboration between the Spanish Navy, the Defense Policy Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the ‘Rayo’ participated in a series of activities in West African countries –an area of growing interest for Spain– to contribute to the Defense Diplomacy Plan.

The ship visited the following nations: Mozambique, the Republic of South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Gabon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Senegal and Cape Verde. Different activities were carried out with those nations: briefings, information and expertise exchanges, and drills to enhance interoperability and common procedures.

The ‘Rayo’, under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Rafael Hernández Rodríguez, is the second ‘Meteoro’-class ship. These offshore patrol boats were designed as state-of-the-art ships with reduced procurement and maintenance costs for multi-purpose missions: military, SAR (search and rescue), humanitarian aid, evacuations and fight against sea pollution.

Press Release, July 31, 2013; Image: Spanish Navy