Spanish Frigate Numancia Returns Home
The Spanish frigate ‘Numancia’ has arrived at her home port in Rota Naval Base with 197 people on board after a five-month deployment in operation ‘Atalanta’ fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean as part of EUNAVFOR (European Union Naval Force).
The Spanish warship has finished her second deployment in ‘Atalanta’ after the 2009 participation in this EU-led operation. On that occasion, Numancia was the first Spanish unit to operate as command ship.
Numancia departed Rota on March 22nd and on the 6th of the following month integrated in operation ‘Atalanta’ for four months. The ship has sailed more than 29,000 nautical miles in 128 days at sea.
Analysis of her participation in operation ‘Atalanta’
In the course of her participation in the operation, the frigate ‘Numancia’ has challenged and visited 38 merchant vessels and trawlers. Her helicopters have flown over 140 hours in Intelligence and Reconnaissance missions; surface surveillance; force protection, medical evacuations and logistic support.
The Spanish frigate took part in the planning and conducting of the meeting that was held off the coast of Mogadishu on June 24th, between several ministers of the Federal Government of Somalia and representatives of the European Union which took place on board the Portuguese frigate ‘Alvares Cabral’. The Spanish frigate acted as the force protection coordinator, with one of her helicopters providing armed escort to the transport helicopters from frigates ‘Alvares Cabral’ (Portuguese Navy) and ‘Augsburg’ (German Navy). The ship’s Special Operations Unit was ready to participate if needed.
In another operation, Numancia and her helicopters performed two medical evacuations during their deployment. In the first one, a crewmember of the British logistic ship ‘Fort Victoria’ had fallen seriously ill with heart problems and was airlifted to Salalah (Oman). In the second, two crewmembers of the merchant vessel MT ‘Perla’, initially assisted on board the Australian frigate HMAS ‘Newcastle’, were taken by the Spanish frigate to Victoria (Seychelles) to be treated at the local hospital.
When the merchant vessel ‘Albedo’ sank off the coast of Somalia, the frigate ‘Numancia’ was the first ship to arrive at the anchorage area and her Commanding Officer took charge of the Search and Rescue efforts, which for the first two days were performed by the frigate, her helicopters and the Spanish Maritime Patrol Aircraft based in Djibouti.
The crew of the ‘Numancia’ also conducted several Local Maritime Capacity Building (LMCB) training events, with the Djiboutian Coast Guard, the Seychellois Coast Guard and the Tanzanian Navy, in support of the EUCAP NESTOR training mission.
After four months in the Area of Operations the Spanish Navy frigate ‘Numancia’ was relieved by the Oceanic Patrol Vessel ‘Meteoro’ that joins EUNAVFOR for the first time. The Spanish Navy has maintained a permanent presence in operation ‘Atalanta’ since it began at the end of 2008; actively contributing to EUNAVFOR´s successful efforts to fight piracy off the Horn of Africa.
Press Release, August 26, 2013; Image: Spanish Navy