The OPV 'Tornado' has berthed for a week in Angola. After refuelling in the outer anchorage, the ship proceeded to dock in the port of Luanda, being the first time that the ship has entered this country. The ship received the Spanish Ambassador to Angola, Manuel María Lejarreta Lobo, with the traditional 'salute to the voice', a visit on board and subsequent signature in the Book of Honour in the Commander's chamber.
Activities carried out in port
During the port call, the OPV 'Tornado' has carried out military cooperation activities on board, providing material and highlighting the preparation of the crew, who are specialised in each type of activity. Several diving practices, boarding operations, wounded movement practices and internal security and engine maintenance exercises have been carried out.
These activities on board with the personnel of the Angolan Navy, in addition to strengthening the ties that Spain has with the country, promote greater maritime security by increasing the capabilities of the coastal states to deal with existing threats in the area.
After the port call, the vessel went to sea together with a patrol vessel of the Angolan Navy for a joint exercise and an exchange of officers. Upon arrival at the coordination point, a simultaneous boarding was carried out by the Angolan Navy gunners on the OPV 'Tornado' and the boarding team on the Angolan patrol vessel. Subsequently, a combined patrol was carried out and ended with a "PASSEX", with the OPV 'Tornado' bidding farewell to the Angolan unit and thanking them for their stay on board.
The Commander and the chief of operations attended different protocol visits of maritime security entities with different authorities, such as the harbour master, the Commander of the Operational Naval Squadron or the Angolan MOC. The crew of the OPV 'Tornado' takes advantage of these events to meet and establish relationships based on mutual trust, allowing an improvement in international maritime security.
A reception was also held on board chaired by the Spanish ambassador to Angola and attended by numerous civilian and military authorities, such as the second Chief of Defence Staff or the second Chief of Staff of the Angolan Navy and ambassadors from different countries with representation in Angola.
Deployment on the West African shore and the Gulf of Guinea
During the CMP-GoG (Coordinated Maritime Presence - Gulf of Guinea) deployment, the vessel will conduct 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, promoting mutual knowledge and trust and helping to increase their capabilities in the area of maritime security.
The OPV 'Tornado' supports Spanish diplomatic delegations in the region, with the purpose of contributing to state action abroad and enhancing national interests in the region. The ship, which is part of the Maritime Action Force in the Canary Islands Naval Command, during this deployment will be integrated into the Maritime Operational Command (MOM), based in Cartagena, and under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS).
EU Coordinated Maritime Presences
The deployment of OPV 'Tornado' makes a decisive contribution to reinforce 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, promote international maritime cooperation and 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 OPV '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 shore and the Gulf of Guinea, as well as in Operation Atalanta against piracy in the Indian Ocean on several occasions.
Offshore action vessels 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.