Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel, Mike Kelly today formally welcomed to Australia the Spanish Armada Ship Cantabria which arrived this week at the Port of Melbourne just 41 days after departing La Graña Naval Port, Spain on the 3rd of January this year.
In November last year, Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, signed the project arrangement between the Australian and Spanish Navies for the deployment to Australia of the Spanish Armada Ship, SPS Cantabria from mid-February until November 2013.
The arrival marks the commencement of Cantabria’s extended deployment to Australia.
Cantabria sailed over 11,000 nm (approx 20,000 km) transiting the Suez Canal as well visiting locations such as Souda Bay, Crete and Diego Garcia.
Cantabria’s deployment is a result of the excellent relationship between the Spanish Armada and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
During the deployment Cantabria will participate in training and exercises with Australian naval ships and helicopters. The deployment will culminate with Cantabria’s participation in the Australian International Fleet Review in October.
Many of Cantabria’s ship systems are the same as our Navy’s new Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships and Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD). The project arrangement provides an excellent opportunity for RAN personnel to train and familiarise themselves with Cantabria before they go on to crew the LHD and AWD.
The Commanding Officer, Commander (ESPN) Jose Luis Nieto and crew, including 12 Australians, were met by the Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Timothy Barrett.
SPS Cantabria is a modern Auxiliary Oil Replenishment ship, similar to HMAS Success, which is capable of supplying fuel, food, stores and ammunition to ships underway.
Cantabria was built in 2007 and commissioned into service in the Spanish Armada in 2009. The deployment will allow the Spanish Armada to trial the ship’s full range of capabilities, including the operating/maintenance cycle of ships systems, and the logistics and maintenance support mechanisms for the ship.
Spain’s Minister of Defence, Mr Pedro Morenés Eulate will attend the naming ceremony of the first of two new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships tomorrow with the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel, Mike Kelly.
In addition to the naming ceremony, the Ministers tomorrow will also jointly inspect the Cantabria.
Imagery is available at:
Minister Smith’s Office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
Minister Kelly’s Office: Robbie Rynehart (02) 6277 7730 or 0459 810 654
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999