On Monday 8 December Spanish warship ESPS Rayo joined the EU Naval Force. The ship will be deployed at sea in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden for the next 6 months.

Following an intense period of operational sea training, ESPS Rayo departed her home port of Las Palmas on 17 November, with an AB212 helicopter and a Marines Security Team embarked.

After three weeks of transit, that included navigating through the Suez Canal and Bab-el-Mandeb strait, ESPS Rayo arrived in the port of Djibouti and berthed close to Spanish Navy frigate, ESPS Navarra. The ships’ crews then spent a period of time handing over their respective duties as part of the Spanish Navy’s commitment to EU counter-piracy operations.

ESPS Rayo is a modern, multi-purpose Oceanic Patrol Vessel (OPV), capable of accomplishing a wide range of operational tasks. Commissioned to the Spanish Navy in May 2012, the ship has a displacement of 2,500 tonnes, is 95 metres long and, for this counter-piracy mission, has a crew of 83 on board. This is the second time that ESPS Rayo has participated in Operation Atalanta.

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Press release, Image: EUNAVFOR