The Maritime Action Ship (BAM) ‘Meteoro’ left Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on Monday for the Black Sea to lead one of NATO’s permanent missions, in the midst of tension with Russia over a possible intervention in Ukraine.
As announced yesterday by the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, in a meeting with journalists, the ‘Meteoro’ will be in command of NATO’s Counter Mine Naval Grouping for the next six months, one of the permanent missions that the allied organisation maintains in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.
The Standing Naval Forces (SNF) provide the Atlantic Alliance with a continuous naval presence, and the Spanish ship’s participation has been planned for some time. However, the ‘Meteoro’ has brought forward its departure from the port of Las Palmas by a few days as a result of the tension with Russia.
The Spanish ship will take several days to arrive in the area, where its main mission will be to patrol the region to safeguard the interests of the Atlantic Alliance. Allied ships are also engaged in other tasks, including the removal of artefacts from World War II that compromise the safety of navigation.
The grouping can also perform other roles, ranging from humanitarian tasks to operations. They can deploy very quickly and are often the first assets to enter a theatre of operations.
The minister added that, also as part of NATO’s permanent missions, a navy frigate is scheduled to join the BAM ‘Meteoro’ in the waters of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean in the coming months.
With respect to the tension in the area, Margarita Robles pointed out that “Spain has NATO’s position. And under no circumstances is it acceptable for Russia to impose conditions on any country”.
In any case, the minister said she was in favour of “the political route and a de-escalation of tension”, and insisted that Spain remains committed to NATO, both in its maritime deployments in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and with the ground force that is participating in Latvia as part of another NATO deterrence mission.