Spanish offshore patrol boat heads for African deployment

Spanish Navy offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Serviola set sail from Ferrol to conduct a series of activities with African navies as part of the Defense Diplomacy Plan and a follow-on of the Africa Partnership Station (APS) initiative.

These deployments are intended to enhance maritime security and cooperative security operations in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea, organized by the Spanish Ministry of Defense, the Chief of the Defense Staff (JEMAD) and the Spanish Navy.

Serviola’s deployment will be divided into three stages. The first one will last until mid-October and include the transit to the Gulf of Guinea and cooperation initiatives in Mauritania and Senegal.
The second stage will include cooperative activities with Ghana and Cameroon relating to counter-terrorism, illegal trafficking and counter-piracy operations among others. The joint operations are intended to enhance maritime situational awareness and to contribute to fight those threats. P-71 will also take part in the French-organized maneuvers ‘NEMO 16.4’ in the Gulf of Guinea.

The third and final stage will be conducted in Cape Verde with cooperation activities including joint surveillance patrols of its sovereign maritime areas.

OPV Serviola (P-71), under command of Lt-Cdr. Gabriel Pita Da Veiga, was built by Navantia in Ferrol and commissioned into active service in 1991. She is the first unit of a series of four OPVs.
Her main missions include maritime security, fight against marine pollution, SAR, tracking possible illegal activities and collaboration with other state departments with responsibilities in the maritime domain (counter-terrorism and drug-trafficking).