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The frigate 'Canarias' takes over from the frigate 'Victoria' in operation 'EUNAVFOR Atalanta'

Souda, Creta
February 22, 2024
  • For this deployment, the 'Canarias' will be equipped -for the first time in the Navy- with new defence systems specifically designed to deal with new unmanned threats

The frigate 'Canarias' has take over from the frigate 'Victoria' in the port of Souda, Crete. With this handover, the 'Victoria' completes its deployment after more than four months away from home, and the 'Canarias' rejoins the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) in its fight against piracy in the Gulf of Africa.

During the handover, the deputy general for operations of the operations command, General Carlos Prada Larrea, was able to verify the operability of the new defence systems with which the 'Canarias' has been equipped during its enlistment phase. These new defence systems, developed through national industry, have been specifically designed to deal with new unmanned threats (Unmanned Vehicles).

In turn, the Commander of the 'Victoria', Frigate Captain Jose Maria De la Puente Mora-Figueroa, has shared with General Prada his experiences during the deployment, providing knowledge and recommendations to the 'Canarias', in order to successfully carry out its mission.

The 'Canarias' will be integrated into the European Union operation ‘Atalanta’, as an additional means of EUNAVFOR. Its mission is to contribute in the improvement of maritime security in the Indian Ocean and to prevent acts of piracy in the Horn of Africa. In addition, it will assist in monitoring fishing activities on the Somali coast and ensure the safe delivery of World Food Programme supplies.

Participation in Operation ‘Atalanta’ is framed within Spain's firm commitment to the European Union's Common Security and Defence Policy, in terms of providing a comprehensive European Union response to the phenomenon of piracy, while contributing to international stability and security.

For the 'Canarias' this will be its fifth ‘Atalanta’ operation. It will remain integrated in EUNAVFOR until next June. In 2009, the 'Canarias' took part in the rescue of the Basque tuna boat ‘Alakrana’ as part of operation ‘Atalanta’.

Commanded by Frigate Captain Carlos Cordon Castosa, the crew of the 'Canarias' is made up of more than two hundred men and women. During the deployment, it will also be equipped with a Marine Infantry unit in charge of supporting the ship in security tasks. The frigate's air resources will include a helicopter from the fifth aircraft squadron, a drone belonging to the eleventh squadron and a reinforcement of medical personnel to treat medical emergencies on board.

The 'Canarias' belongs to the 41st Escort Squadron, and is the most modern of the six frigates of the Santa María class. These frigates are based in Rota ( Cadiz) and maintain their capabilities fully operational.