Last week the Military announced a re-shuffling of their fleet as part of the armed forces’ cost-cutting measures to meet national budget demands, and all the “Descubierta” class patrol vessels belonging to the Spanish navy will from now on be based in Cartagena, streamlining the navy’s maintenance costs.
The Infanta Elena and Cristina are already in the La Curra dock in Cartagena, and now the patrol ship “Vencedora” is back in Cartagena, the“Cazadora” scheduled to be joining the other 3 vessels on 2nd July, after which both ships will be based in the port for the foreseeable future.
The two ships were refitted in the Cartagena shipyards in 2004, being converted from corvettes into patrol vessels before being sent to their new base in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
It was in January 2004 that all Spanish navy “Descubierta” vessels were re-classified as patrol vessels, and were transferred from the Fleet to the Maritime Action Force (FAM). In July of the same year they set sail from Cartagena for their new base in Las Palmas, and since then they have been involved in security and surveillance missions to protect national maritime interests. These have included the protection of the Spanish fishing fleet, the detection and follow-up of suspected illegal immigration operations, and various collaborations with state security forces in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.
Among the operations in which the “Vencedora” has taken part have been “Operación Centinela”, against illegal immigrants, and “Active Endeavour”, in which she joined the fight against terrorism. She was also involved in the UN “Libre Hidalgo” operation which offered support to the Lebanese authorities in controlling adjacent maritime traffic, and in the “Atalanta” operation to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean.
This year she has also taken part in bilateral training activities, flying the Spanish flag in various countries in the Gulf of Guinea and western Africa while at the same time helping them to develop maritime security.
The “Cazadora”, meanwhile, can be proud of her participation in the rescue of flood victims in Alicante in 1982, and her role in the 1991 Iraq blockade.
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