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Offshore patrol vessel 'Infanta Elena' starts a maritime surveillance mission in waters of sovereignty and national interest

Mediterranean Sea
May 14, 2021
  • The warship, part of the Maritime Operational Command and under operational control of the Operations Command, will conduct maritime surveillance in Mediterranean waters

Patrol vessel 'Infanta Elena' will conduct, between May 15 and 31, surveillance and maritime security duties in the Mediterranean Sea, the Alboran Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar. During this navigation the 'Infanta Elena' is subordinated to the Maritime Operational Command (MOM) and performs one of the permanent missions of the Armed Forces, such as the surveillance and security of maritime areas of sovereignty, responsibility and national interest.

During the patrol, the mission of this ship is to contribute to the action of the State at sea to exercise sovereignty and protect national maritime interests in Spanish waters and in the Exclusive Economic Zone, as well as to collaborate with other bodies of the Administration that have competences in the maritime field.

Commencing the navigation, the 'Infanta Elena' will participate in Operation 'Joint Shield', supporting the Coast Artillery Defence Unit (UDACTA) of the Army and the Maritime Action Surveillance Operations Centre (COVAM) to identify all the vessels that are on the eastern coast of the peninsula.

The vessel will also participate in the MARSEC 2021 exercises, whose purpose is to join efforts of different civil and military organizations and agencies to achieve the common objective of safeguarding maritime areas of national jurisdiction and interest.

Maritime Operational Command (MOM)

The Maritime Operational Command (MOM) is the body within the operational structure of the Armed Forces, subordinate to the Chief of Defence Staff (JEMAD in spanish), responsible for planning, conducting and monitoring surveillance and security operations in maritime areas of national sovereignty, responsibility and interest.

Operationally, a series of units and forces depend on the MOM, which can be expanded as the situation requires. These units and forces are not exclusively Navy units and forces, but include others from the Army and Air Force. The Commander of the Maritime Operational Command is the Admiral for Maritime Action (ALMART).

Permanent Operations

Permanent Operations are the most effective tool for maintaining knowledge of the areas of sovereignty over time, making it possible to detect threats in advance and facilitate an immediate and viable response to a crisis.

The Land (MOT), Maritime (MOM) and Aerospace (MOA) Operational Commands and the Joint Cyberspace Command (MCCE) make up the Standing Command structure.

These commands dedicate close to 1,200 military personnel daily to these operations, which seek to have a good knowledge of the environment while guaranteeing an immediate response 365 days a year to any incident that may arise, and all of this with the aim of preserving the security of all Spaniards

About patrol vessel 'Infanta Elena'

The offshore patrol vessel 'Infanta Elena' is the third ship of the 'Descubierta' class. Built by Empresa Nacional Bazán in November 1976. In January 2004 it was converted to its current configuration as an offshore patrol vessel. 'Infanta Elena' (P-76).

Based in Cartagena, its main tasks are maritime security, the fight against maritime pollution, the detection and monitoring of possible illegal immigration activities and collaboration with the State Security Forces and Bodies in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

The ship's commander is Lieutenant Commander Gonzalo Escudero García and the crew for this navigation is 80 people, including Marines as Safety Operational Team.