As part of the deployment of EU Coordinated Maritime Presences on the West African coast and the Gulf of Guinea, the P-44 'Tornado' has called at the port of Abidjan for a week. During its stay, it received on board the Spanish Ambassador to the Ivory Coast, Rafael Soriano Ortiz, with whom it held a meeting to coordinate the activities to be carried out during the ship's stay in port.
Activities carried out in port
During the stopover, various military cooperation activities were carried out with the Ivory Coast Navy, such as theoretical and practical training on recording and taking evidence in a collision, diving, internal security practices to prevent fires and floods, and practices for reacting to unconventional threats. All these activities are essential to strengthen the maritime security capabilities of coastal countries, with the common goal of achieving safe, secure and threat-free maritime spaces. This set of activities, coordinated with the Ivorian Navy, culminated in a combined patrol at sea.
Meetings with the media
As part of the programme, the ship received the media on board. This event was attended by the Spanish ambassador who, together with the commander of the unit and the Head of Operations, gave a tour and met with local journalists. Thanks were expressed on behalf of the entire crew for the reception of the ship in this port and the objectives of the deployment were explained.
On Wednesday 4 October, the commander and a representation of the crew visited the CRESMAO (Regional Centre for Maritime Security in West Africa). This centre is responsible for coordinating activities related to maritime security in fifteen different countries such as Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana. These visits provide an insight into the operation and capabilities of the area, where the ship will be deployed for the next three months. In this way, the exchange of experiences and the increase of relations based on mutual trust that make it possible to increase international maritime security are also promoted.
On Thursday 5 October, the Spanish ambassador held a meeting on board with the other European Union ambassadors in Côte d'Ivoire.
On Friday 6 October, the ship's crew and embassy staff visited the Académie Internationale de Lutte contre le Terrorisme (International Academy for Combating Terrorism), thus strengthening Spain's international relations with the country.
Reception at the Embassy
The crew of the P-44 "Tornado" attended a reception at the Spanish Embassy, chaired by the Ambassador and attended by officers of the Ivorian Navy, CRESMAO staff and Embassy personnel. The Spanish ambassador thanked the commander and his crew for the welcome on board during the port call.
The call at Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire of the P-44 "Tornado", reinforced by the presence of the Spanish Ambassador, contributes to the State's external action and projects a strong message of our country's commitment to Côte d'Ivoire.
Deployment on the West African coast and Gulf of Guinea
During the CMP-GoG (Coordinated Maritime Presence - Gulf of Guinea) deployment, the ship carries out permanent maritime surveillance and environmental awareness activities, thus contributing to increasing 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 P-44 '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 P-44 '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 the 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 P-44 "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.