Bon Voyage

The Spanish Defence Minister, Carme Chacón, has praised the sailors on board the Spanish ship ‘Patiño’ bound for waters off the coast of Somalia.

The defense minister made no secret of the risk of the operation ‘Atlanta’ launched by the EU to combat piracy and her concern at the start of a new patrol in what she called “the world’s most dangerous waters.” Chacon has waved off about 210 people, who comprise the crew of the ‘Patiño’ which will relieve, in the Indian Ocean, the patrol boat ‘Infanta Cristina’.

The ship is expected to reach the area on 14 December, where she remains until March next year, when she will be relieved by the amphibious assault ship ‘Galicia’. The Spanish sailors will spend the next few months ensuring the safety of vessels fishing in Indian waters, to abort any criminal action or seizure by pirates operating off the Somali coast.

This operation, sponsored by the European Union, has managed to lower the number of pirate attacks, with a figure of 120 so far this year, in addition to lowering the number of kidnappings by 25 percent and the dismantling of 134 pirates units, as reported by the very minister during the farewell ceremony.

Aboard the ‘Patiño’ is aboard Admiral Juan Rodriguez Garat, who takes command of the Naval Force of the EU (Comeunavfor) in the area of operations over the next few months.

During deployment, the ship will have a team of marines on board with the ability to search suspicious pirate ships, supported by three semi-rigid boats and two helicopters of the Fifth Squadron of the Navy aircraft. The ship also has a service hospital and medical care.

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