Operation Atalanta: Meteoro Relieves Numancia

Meteoro Relieves Numancia

Spanish Maritime Action Ship (BAM) ‘Meteoro’ relieved on August 7 the frigate ‘Numancia’ in the port of Djibouti. Operation ‘Atalanta’ is a EU-led mission fighting piracy in the coast of Somalia.

Meteoro will remain in the theatre of operations for a period of four months. Her mission will be to protect WFP (World Food Program) ships, the African Union mission in Somalia and the vulnerable shipping in the area. The ship is also tasked with anti-piracy missions deterring, averting illegal activities and –if feasible– arresting suspects.

After an intense training stage and a logistic and operational readiness period, this offshore patrol boat departed Las Palmas Naval Base (Canary Islands) on July 15th to integrate in EUNAVFOR (European Union Naval Force) in the Indian Ocean. During her transit the ship called at Rota Naval Base to embark an SH-60B helicopter from the 10th Aircraft Squadron and then proceeded towards Cartagena to embark a Special Operations Unit. Meteoro finally arrived in Djibouti on August 4th.

As of the month of September, the Spanish Navy will have a new aerial system apart from the SH-60B helicopter: a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which will help to obtain a holistic picture of the theatre of operations and targets without unnecessary risks for the embarked personnel.

Meteoro is the first ship of a series of four modern multi-purpose offshore patrol boats called Maritime Action Ships usually tasked with Support and Maritime Security missions. The 2,500 ton and 94-meter-long Meteoro, delivered to the Spanish Navy in July 2011, has a complement of 86 servicemen including the Special Operations contingent and the embarked Air Unit.

While deployed in this European Union mission, Meteoro will have the opportunity to work side by side with other EU warships and those from different Allied nations fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Press Release, August 12, 2013; Image: Spanish Navy