The offshore patrol vessel ‘Tornado’ has just set sail from Las Palmas Naval Station (Canary Islands) to deploy in the West African coast and the Gulf of Guinea. During the scheduled four-month deployment, the ship will be integrated into the operational structure of the Spanish Armed Forces and will visit different ports in Cape Verde, Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Senegal and Mauritania.
Stability in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea is of paramount importance for the security of Spain. Piracy and robberies at sea are great risk posed to our national maritime and fishing community operating in the region, not to mention the illegal trafficking of goods and people. The area is also an important source of energy resources so, instability in the zone puts sea lines of communication at serious risk.
Deployment in the West African coast and the Gulf of Guinea
During the CMP-GoG deployment, (Coordinates Maritime Presence – Gulf of Guinea) the ‘Tornado’ will conduct maritime surveillance activities to enhance the awareness of the regional maritime domain. Other activities will include military cooperation with local navies strengthening bonds and helping to increase their maritime security capabilities.
During her deployment in Africa, OPV ‘Tornado’ will also support different Diplomatic Delegations as part of the Defense Diplomacy Plan with the aim of promoting the defense policy objectives. The ship will be under the operational command of Cartagena’s Operations Command (MOPS).
Coordinated Maritime Presence of the European Union
The deployment of the OPV ‘Tornado’ makes a decisive contribution to strengthening the European Union’s Coordinated Maritime Presence initiative, as an effective instrument for improving maritime security in the area, enhancing cooperation between the EU and the West and Central African states. The aim of this instrument in the region is to ensure a permanent maritime presence, promoting international maritime cooperation and greater European operational capability. It is worth underlining that Spain, as a fully committed partner to European security and defense, is one of the main contributors to this EU initiative.