Spanish OPV returns from West African deployment

Spanish Navy’s offshore patrol vessel ESPS Serviola returned to her home port in Ferrol, Spain, after taking part in different cooperation activities in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea.

The cooperative security activities with regional navies are organized by the Spanish Ministry of Defense and the Spanish Navy under the Spanish Defense Diplomacy Plan.

During this deployment, Serviola (P-71) was part of the operational structure of the armed forces under direct command of the maritime security and surveillance command.

The mission was divided into three stages. The first one saw the Spanish OPV work with the navies of Mauritania and Senegal. In the second phase, the P-71 deployed in the Gulf of Guinea and carried out military support activities with Ghana and Cameroon, including exercises to fight terrorism, illegal trafficking, piracy.

In the final stage, Serviola participated in several special operations exercises with the Cape Verdean special operations unit conducting joint surveillance patrols in collaboration with a Spanish Air Force D4 aircraft.

The Spanish Defense Diplomacy Plan and Cooperative Security was established to cooperate with regional west-African nations to help them enhance their capabilities and to foster stability and mutual understanding and confidence, thus contributing to maritime security.

This area is of particular interest to Spain since 20% of Spanish oil imports come from this part of the world which suffers significant maritime security threats.

Currently under command of Lt-Cdr. Gabriel Pita de Veiga, OPV Serviola was built by Navantia in Ferrol. The P-71 is the first of a series of four offshore patrol vessels. The 68-meter long patrol boat was delivered to the Spanish Navy in 1991.

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