The Maritime Action Vessel 'Tornado' set sail today from its base at the Military Arsenal in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, to begin deployment to the west coast of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. In its almost four months of deployment, the ship will remain integrated into the operational structure of the Armed Forces and will visit ports in Cape Verde, Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Senegal and Mauritania.
Stability in West Africa and the Gulf of Guinea is fundamental to Spain's security. Piracy and acts of robbery at sea pose a major risk to the national fishing and maritime community operating legitimately in the region, where there is also a proliferation of illicit trafficking that poses a threat to our country. Likewise, instability in this region, which is a source of important energy resources for Spain, endangers free navigation along maritime lines that are essential for our country.
Deployment to the West African coast and the Gulf of Guinea
During the CMP-GoG (Coordinated Maritime Presence - Gulf of Guinea) deployment, the vessel will carry out maritime surveillance and environmental awareness activities on a permanent basis, thus contributing to increased maritime security in the region. It is also planned to carry out multiple military cooperation activities with the coastal countries, fostering mutual knowledge and trust and helping to increase their capabilities in the area of maritime security.
Likewise, the BAM 'Tornado' will support the Spanish diplomatic delegations in the region, with the aim of contributing to the State's action abroad and reinforcing national interests in the region. The ship, which is part of the Maritime Action Force in the Canary Islands Naval Command, will be integrated into the Maritime Operational Command (MOM), based in Cartagena, and under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS) during this deployment.
EU Coordinated Maritime Presences
The deployment of the BAM 'Tornado' makes a decisive contribution to strengthening the European Union's Coordinated Maritime Presences initiative as an effective instrument to improve maritime security in the area, and to advance cooperation between the EU and West and Central African states. The aim of this mechanism in the region is to ensure a permanent maritime presence and availability, to promote international maritime cooperation and to provide greater European operational capacity. It should be noted that Spain, as a partner fully committed to European security and defence, is one of the main contributors to this EU initiative.
The BAM "Tornado", the fourth ship of the "Meteoro" class, was built by Navantia in San Fernando and delivered to the Navy in 2012. It is based in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and has deployed on two previous occasions to the West African coast and the Gulf of Guinea, as well as in Operation Atalanta against piracy in the Indian Ocean on several occasions.
The Maritime Action Ships are designed to carry out maritime surveillance and security missions in maritime areas of national interest, the fight against maritime pollution, the fight against illegal immigration and collaboration with the State Security Forces and Corps in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.