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Frigate ‘Álvaro de Bazán’ crosses the Artic Circle

Artic Circle
March 7, 2023
  • The Navy ship is participating in the 'JOINT WARRIOR 23-1' manoeuvres, integrated into the Standing NATO Maritime Group number 1 of the Atlantic Alliance

The frigate 'Álvaro de Bazán' has crossed the parallel 66º 33'44' north, fulfilling the maritime milestone of crossing to the north of the Arctic Circle.

The frigate, part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group number 1 (SNMG-1) and under the Operations Command, has started this week the multinational manoeuvres 'JOINT WARRIOR 23-1'. These manoeuvres that are carried out in the north of Norway are the second in which the frigate has participated since it set sail from Ferrol on February 15. To date it has already sailed more than 3400 nautical miles.

Currently, the frigate is sailing north of parallel 66º 33'44' north, so significant for sailors. It will remain with the rest of the Units of the Group in these Arctic waters of the 'High North' for more than two weeks participating in the 'JOINT WARRIOR 23-1' manoeuvres.

The Arctic Circle is the line that delimits the extreme southern end of the polar day of the summer solstice and the polar night of the winter solstice. This means that, within the Arctic Circle, on the day of the summer solstice (June 21) the Sun does not set for 24 hours. On the winter solstice (December 22), the Sun does not rise for 24 hours. This phenomenon, that occurs once a year, can only be seen from north of the parallel that the frigate 'Álvaro de Bazán' has just crossed.

It is a tradition for ships to paint their bull ring blue to symbolize that the ship has sailed in waters north of the parallel 66º33'44'', the parallel of the Arctic Circle. On the frigate 'Álvaro de Bazán', the personnel of the maneuvering station are in charge of immortalizing this tradition.

The frigate 'Álvaro de Bazán', commanded by frigate captain Jesús Viñas Barciela, was delivered to the Navy on September 19, 2002 and is the first frigate of the F-100 series, belonging to the 31st Escort Squadron. Currently, it has more than 200 women and men on board, including an embarked air unit, a security operational team belonging to the Security Unit of the Third Army and a Chaplain

The 31st Escort Squadron, commanded by Captain Gonzalo Leira Neira, consists of five F-100 frigates and two combat supply ships based in Ferrol, which provide deterrence and defence capabilities.