On Saturday 8th August 2015, Colombian warship, ARC 7 de Agosto, arrived in the Gulf of Aden to start her counter-piracy operations in close collaboration with Operation Atalanta.
Commanded by Captain Darwin Alberto Alonso Torres, ARC 7 de Agosto has a Spanish Navy liaison team on board to help co-ordinate the day to day operations with the EU Naval Force flagship, ESPS Galicia.
The Colombian warship will work together with the EU Naval Force in escorting and protecting World Food Programme (WFP) vessels and vulnerable shipping along the Somali coastline and also help to deter and disrupt any acts of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the EU Navfor said. Over the past three years security for vessels and their crews off the coast of Somalia has significantly improved, with no merchant ship being pirated since May 2012.
7 de Agosto sailed from Cartagena on 27 June and will deploy for five-months. ARC 7 de Agusto is the second of Colombia’s three 1 723 ton OPV-80 designs built in Colombia by COTECMAR in Cartagena. The vessels has a crew of 85 and is armed with a 40 mm Oto Melara 40L70 twin gun, a 20 mm Oerlikon GAM-BO1 gun, and two Thor T-12 Remote Controlled Weapons Stations (RCWS). The T-12 RCWS includes a .50-calibre M2HB machine gun linked to a Controp SHAPO maritime day/night observation system.
For interdiction the vessels is equipped with two boats and a medium sized Bell helicopter.