After navigating the Suez Canal and Bab-el-Mandeb strait, ESPS Rayo joined EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia ‚Äì Operation Atalanta on Tuesday 26 February. ¬†Having completed her first patrol in the Southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the Spanish warship is currently alongside Djibouti, together with EU NAVFOR flagship, ESPS M√©ndez N√∫nez.
With an AB212 helicopter and Spanish Marines team embarked, ESPS Rayo departed her base port of Cartegena on 15 February, having completed an intense period of operational sea training.¬† Speaking about the EU mission, the Commanding Officer of ESPS Rayo said ‚ÄúI am very proud to bring my ship and ship‚Äôs company to Operation Atalanta.¬† The Spanish Navy continues to make a significant contribution to fighting piracy off Somalia, helping to make the seas safer for merchant ships bringing goods into Europe.‚Äù
Rayo is a modern multi-purpose Oceanic Patrol Vessel (OPV) capable of accomplishing a wide spectrum of missions. Commissioned to the Spanish Navy in May 2012, has a displacement of 2500 tons, is 95 meters long and for this mission has 83 crew members on board.
Whilst with EU NAVFOR, Rayo will work together with the other EU NAVFOR ships already deployed in the region, as well as the ships from other counter-piracy task forces. During this time Rayo will conduct tasks such as the protection to World Food Programme (WFP) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) shipping, the protection to vulnerable shipping, the monitoring of fishing activities off the coast of Somalia, and the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.