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Offshore patrol vessel 'Vigía' returns home after four months in the Gulf of Guinea

Gulf of Guinea
October 15, 2021
  • Offshore patrol vessel 'Vigía' completes in Cádiz the African Deployment after sailing 15,370 nautical miles as part of the Permanent Operations

Offshore patrol vessel 'Vigía' has completed its Maritime Security task within the framework of Operation 'African Deployment' in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea to tackle growing challenges in a highly strategic area of interest for Spain. 

Over the 123 days of deployment, the warship has sailed 15,370 nautical miles, called at several ports - in Cape Verde, Ghana, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Angola, Senegal and Mauritania - visiting and assisting 31 national fishing boats, rescued a fishing vessel adrift at sea in Angola, participated in exercises with vessels from the French, Italian, United States and Nigerian navies, and carried out joint patrols with vessels from Senegal and Mauritania. 

The ship's main task in this deployment has been to conducted maritime security tasks and to carry out military cooperation (MCA) and cooperative security (CSA) activities with the coastal countries of the West African coast. Illegal activities in that area, put at risk important international maritime transit routes, as well as fishing grounds where the Spanish fishing community operates. 

Within the framework of the MCAs and CSAs, the vessel's crew have trained 230 military personnel on their decks in areas such as counter-piracy, first aid, shooting exercises, diving and firefighting. These activities, based on dialogue and military cooperation, have contributed to achieve a better knowledge of the maritime capabilities of the countries in the region and to strengthen the already existing mutual trust.

Other areas in which it has taken part include support for Defence Diplomacy Activities, collaborating with the Spanish diplomatic delegations in the countries visited in order to contribute to strengthening ties with the civilian and military authorities of the host countries.

In addition, the 'Vigia' has taken part in activities under the European Union's 'Coordinated Maritime Presences' (CMP), which aims to strengthen the Union's capacity against activities that threaten maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

Maritime Operational Command (MOM)

Spanish MOM is the organization of the operational structure of the Armed Forces, subordinate to the Chief of Defence Staff (CHOD), responsible for the planning, conduct and monitoring of surveillance and security operations in maritime areas of sovereignty, responsibility and national interest. It is under the command of the Admiral of Maritime Action (ALMART) and is based in Cartagena.

Permanent Operations

Permanent Operations are an effective tool for maintaining surveillance of sovereign spaces, which allows for the early detection of threats and facilitates an immediate and viable response to a potential crisis.

The traditional Land Operational Commands (MOT), Maritime (MOM), Aerospace (MOA) and the recently created Cyberspace (MOC) make up the structure of Permanent Commands. On a daily basis, there are about 3,000 Armed Forces personnel involved in permanent operations, under the operational control of the Operations Command.