The frigate 'Santa Maria' is sailing towards the Indian Ocean to be fully integrated in Operation 'Atalanta'. The Spanish ship will take over from the frigate 'Numancia' which has been participating in the EU mission since last June.
The frigate Numancia is already in transit to Spain after having been repaired from a mechanical breakdown in the port of Djibouti. In this repair, personnel and means were specifically sent as quickly as possible from national territory.
It is remarkable the degree of commitment of the crew of the frigate 'Numancia' which, with a great spirit of service, has faced the extension of the duration of its deployment due to the unexpected situations.
The 'Santa María' is integrated in EUNAVFOR Somalia within the framework of Operation Atalanta, which is taking place in the waters of the Indian Ocean and will be under the operational control of the Operations Command. As command ship of the Operation's Force Commander, it will embark the General Staff, commanded by an Admiral of the Portuguese Navy.
The frigate 'Santa Maria' has, in addition to its own capabilities, a Special Naval Warfare Force Team; an Embarked Air Unit composed of an AB-212 helicopter from the 3rd Squadron and a Scan Eagle UAV system from the 11th Squadron; as well as a medical team, with the category of ROLE-2, qualified to perform surgical interventions on board.
One of the main objectives of Operation 'Atalanta' is the protection of World Food Program (WFP) vessels, and other vulnerable vessels, from pirate attacks in the waters of the western Indian Ocean. Since the renewal of the mandate on January 1, 2021, the ships also contribute to the improvement of maritime security structures and the monitoring of other activities in the area, such as illegal fishing or illicit trafficking.