Spanish Frigate ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ Returns Home
The Spanish frigate ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ (F-101) has arrived in Ferrol after 179 days out of her home port, integrated into the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG-2). During this deployment the F-101 participated in operation ‘Active Endeavour’ fighting terrorism in the Mediterranean Sea and the counter-piracy operation ‘Ocean Shield’ in the Indian Ocean.
Since her departure from Ferrol on October 4th the ship has sailed more than 30,000 nautical miles during 140 days at sea visiting 15 ports in three continents. Her embarked helicopter has carried out more than 300 landings and take offs and the ship has replenished 18 times with allied logistic ships.
During her deployment, the ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ has been the flagship of SNMG-2, accommodating the International Staff under the command of Rear-admiral Eugenio Díaz del Río. This task group is made up of an assortment of frigates and logistic ships from several NATO nations.
Operation ‘Active Endeavour’
The Spanish frigate commenced her deployment with operation ‘Active Endeavour’ whose main goal is to deter terrorist organizations from using the Mediterranean Sea for possible criminal activities.
During her deployment in the Mediterranean, the warship participated in different operations like advanced training drills with national and international air and naval assets; combined exercises in Crete (Greece) and participation in the international exercise ‘Dogu Akdeniz’ organized by the Turkish Navy in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. During her transit through Alboran Sea waters, the frigate assisted a boat adrift full of immigrants.
In this first stage of her deployment, the ship visited the ports of Casablanca (Morocco), La Goulette (Tunisia), Aksaz and Antalya (Turkey), Souda (Greece) and Haifa (Israel) welcoming on board most of the Spanish Ambassadors in those countries.
Operation ‘Ocean Shield’
At the beginning of December, the frigate integrated in operation ‘Ocean Shield’ as part of NATO’s endeavors to fight piracy in the Horn of Africa.
The ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ carried out patrols in the IRTC (Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor) and Somali territorial waters. The ship held meetings on board with local authorities, provided medical assistance to the civilian population, and collaborated in training activities with regional naval services to enhance capacity building measures on maritime security. The F-101 also participated in different exercises with U.S. Navy and French Navy warships deployed in the area.
Among other highlights, the Spanish ship provided key assistance to Iranian and Yemeni dhows (fishing boats) that were sailing adrift, and the urgent medical evacuation of a Ukrainian sailor with the ship’s helicopter.
In the second stage of her deployment, the F-101 visited the ports of Salalah and Muscat (Oman), Dubai (UAE), Manama (Bahrain), Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania), Port Victoria (Seychelles) and Djibouti. Last year, on December 22nd, the ship welcomed the Spanish Prime Minister on board.
The ship arrived at Ferrol 16 days after leaving Djibouti. She had been previously relieved by her sister ship ‘Cristóbal Colón’ (F-105).
Last Saturday, the Fleet Commander, Admiral Santiago Bolíbar welcomed the ship in Cadiz waters and thanked the crew for their performance and the success of the mission.
Press Release, April 2, 2014, Image: Spanish Navy