Spanish Frigate Blas de Lezo Returns from Deployment
The F-100 frigate ‘Blas de Lezo’ arrived at Ferrol Naval Base on Sunday after a two-month deployment in the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea. On June 5th the ship left Ferrol to become command ship of the SNMG-2.
During this period the Naval Group, under the command of Rear-admiral Eugenio Díaz del Río, integrated the Spanish frigate ‘Blas de Lezo’, the Turkish frigate ‘Salihreis’ and the Italian Navy frigate ‘Aliseo’, although the latter just for a brief period.
In the course of this deployment, the Naval Group has participated in the NATO operation ‘Active Endeavor’, the main goal of which is to deter possible terrorist organizations from using the Mediterranean Sea for their illegal activities, carrying out endeavors to improve awareness of the maritime domain and several maritime security operations.
The Group also participated in the international exercise ‘Breeze 13’ organized by the Bulgarian Navy in the Black Sea in July, with naval units from Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and the United States.
As a standing NATO maritime force, the Group visited several ports in the area: Souda in the Greek Isle of Crete, Aksaz and Istanbul in Turkey, Odessa in Ukraine and Varna in Bulgaria. In the last three ports the ship welcomed on board the Spanish Ambassadors to Turkey, Ukraine and Bulgaria.
During the month of August, the ships from the Naval Group return home for maintenance works and their crews rest, but they continue being activated and in readiness should NATO require their services.
After this scheduled break, the ‘Blas de Lezo’ will set sail once again on August 30th towards Malaga where she will meet the remaining members of SNMG-2 plus the German Navy frigate ‘Sachsen’.
After their departure from Malaga the group will integrate once again in operation ‘Active Endeavor’ in the Mediterranean and will participate in the international exercise ‘Brilliant Mariner 2013’ organized by the Italian Navy where the rapid reaction response of the Alliance will be put to a test.
In October the frigate ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ will relieve the ‘Blas de Lezo’ as command ship of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2).
Press Release, August 5, 2013; Image: Spanish Navy