A Spanish warship named ESPS Audaz has docked in Lagos to reinforce the military ties between Nigeria and Spain and deliver defence diplomacy.
Audaz, constructed by Navantia, is one of the four OPVs (Offshore Patrol Vessels) built for the Spanish Navy under the extension of “1st series navy ships”. It was delivered in July 2018, and it has its docking base in Cartagena, Spain. The personnel of ESPS ‘Audaz’ is made up of 77 people, among them are an Operational Security Team of Marines and a reinforcement of soldiers and seamen for specific capacities. It is commanded by the Captain of Corvette Marcos de Sousa Fuchs.
A statement on Wednesday said the ESPS Audaz moored in Lagos port on May 13 to demonstrate the Spanish government’s commitment to the security of the Gulf of Guinea.
It noted that Lagos was significant, being Nigeria’s most populated city and the country’s economic centre.
“During the port visit, several activities were conducted, including military cooperation, defence diplomacy, as well as logistic operations. The ESPS Audaz is currently deployed in the Gulf of Guinea, integrated into the operational structure of the Armed Forces and under the framework of the Coordinated Maritime Presence of the European Union, in order to deliver maritime security into an area of vital strategic interest,” a statement released by the navy said.
“During this period, 18,000 nautical miles have been steamed by the warship. During the four-day port visit, several military cooperation activities were carried out,” the naval statement added.
ESPS “Audaz” first acted as a target ship in an operation simulating a piracy scenario, where a Special Operations Maritime Task Unit from the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Squadron participated.
It further added that a Spanish delegation, led by the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Juan Ignacio Sell, visited the Western Naval Command as well as the project “Falcon Eye”, an example of vanguard and leadership in maritime security.
“Once at sea, three Nigerian officers embarked on board ESPS ‘Audaz’ to reinforce interoperability and bonds between sister navies. These activities are essential to deliver maritime security alongside coastal states, in order to achieve a safe and secure maritime environment,” the statement added.
This is the second visit of ESPS Audaz to Lagos since it left Spain four months ago.
Similarly, the Offshore Patrol Vessel ESPS ‘Audaz’ called at the port of Tema on March 6, where it carried out military activities with the Ghanaian Armed Forces for six days.