After an intense training and readiness period, the F-80 frigate ‘Victoria’ left Rota Naval Base to integrate into the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) in charge of Operation ‘Atalanta’. The farewell ceremony was presided over by the Fleet Commander Admiral Eugenio Díaz del Río accompanied by a large group of family members of the ship’s crew.
The goal of Operation ‘Atalanta’ is to contribute to maritime security in the Indian Ocean, deterring and intervening to stop piracy and other illegal activities in and around the Horn of Africa.
The warships deployed are tasked with the escort of vulnerable vessels and ships of the World Food Program so that they can safely deliver their valuable cargo. They are also in charge of supervising the fleet of trawlers working off the coast of Somalia, thus contributing to implement the ad-hoc legislation on fishing. This monitoring activities also play an important role to enhance the security of shipping in the area.
The Spanish Navy has been the main contributor to Operation ‘Atalanta’ since the very beginning, deploying at least one ship in the area of operations. The activity of these warships has been very effective against piracy and illegal trafficking. This mission decisively contributes to protect the Spanish fishing fleet working in that part of the world, therefore contributing to the defense of Spain and its interests overseas.
For this mission, the frigate ‘Victoria’ (F-82) has embarked an ‘Augusta Bell’ 212 helicopter and a ‘Scan Eagle’ UAV in addition to a Marine Corps’ Special Operations security team.
The ship will visit different ports in Djibouti, Egypt, Seychelles, Kenia, Oman, Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. During the transit to the area of operations, the frigate will relieve her sister ship ‘Navarra’ (F-85), present in the zone since the month of June.
Frigate ‘Victoria’ is the second unit of the 6 ‘Santa María’-class frigates that constitute the 41st Escort Squadron. She was built by NAVANTIA in its Ferrol shipyards and delivered to the Spanish Navy in 1987. The F-82 is 138 meters long and her crew is made up of around 200 people. Her sensors and equipment allow her to operate as a blue-water escort.