The Maritime Action Ship (BAM) 'Relámpago' has sailed this Sunday, August 28, from its base at the Arsenal of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, to begin a deployment to the west coast of Africa and the Gulf of Guinea. For almost four months, the ship will remain integrated in the operational structure of the Armed Forces with 86 people on board.
During this period, the BAM plans to carry out maritime surveillance and maritime environment awareness activities, contributing to increase maritime security in the region, which is threatened mainly by acts of piracy and robbery at sea, illicit trafficking of people, drugs and weapons, and illegal fishing.
It is also planned to carry out military cooperation activities with the coastal countries, fostering mutual knowledge and trust and helping to increase their capabilities in the area of maritime security, among others, and to improve their coordination and cooperation procedures.
The 'Relámpago' will also support diplomatic delegations within the Defence Diplomacy Plan (a set of international activities, mainly based on dialogue and cooperation, carried out by the Ministry of Defence at the bilateral level with allied and friendly countries) with the purpose of promoting the fulfilment of the objectives of the defence policy and strengthening the Spanish presence in the region.
Finally, the ship will contribute to strengthen the European Union's Coordinated Maritime Presences initiative as an effective instrument that contributes to improve maritime security in the area and to advance cooperation between the EU and the states of West and Central Africa.
The ship will be integrated into the Maritime Operational Command (MOM), under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS). The 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 headquartered in Cartagena.
The Land Operational Command (MOT), Maritime (MOM), Aerospace (MOA) and the Cyberspace (MOC) make up the Standing Command structure.
OPV ‘Relampago’ (P43)
The Maritime Action Ship ‘Relampago’ is the third 'Meteoro' class vessel. Its home harbour is the Arsenal of Las Palmas (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). The ship was launched on October 6, 2010 and came into service on February 6 2012. It has served three times in Operation 'ATALANTA', in the Indian Ocean, in support of the World Food Programme and in several national and international exercises.
Maritime Action Ships (BAM) are designed to carry out maritime security missions, protection of national maritime interests and control of areas of sovereignty and national interest, as well as maritime police missions, in collaboration with State Security Forces and Corps at sea, such as operations against drug trafficking or terrorism. In addition to these, they also carry out missions of control and protection of maritime traffic; surveillance and control of fishing and fight against maritime pollution.