A few days ago a Moroccan NGO claimed this Spanish archipelago to the UN

The message from the Spanish Navy to Morocco deploying five ships to the Canary Islands

This Monday, March 4, the Spanish Navy began an important exercise of its Maritime Action Force in the Canary Islands.

The emotive farewell of the Spanish Navy to the AB-212 helicopter in Operation Atalanta
The beginnings of the Airbus H135 P3H Nival helicopters of the Spanish Navy

This exercise brings together a total of five ships: the Combat Supply Ship "Patiño" A-14 (based at the Ferrol Arsenal) and the Maritime Action Vessels (oceanic patrol vessels) "Rayo" P-42, "Relámpago" P-43, "Tornado" P-44 and "Audaz" P-45, these last four of the "Meteoro" Class. The "Rayo", the "Relámpago" and the "Tornado" are based in the Arsenal of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, while the "Audaz" is based in the Arsenal of Cartagena.

The vessels participating in this exercise sailing in formation. From top to bottom we see the BAM "Tornado" P-44, the BAM "Rayo" P-42, the BAC "Patiño" A-14, the BAM "Relámpago" P-43 and the BAM "Audaz" P-45 ( Photo: Armada Española).

This exercise, which will end on March 11, also has the participation of two Security Operational Teams (EOS) of the Protection Force (FUPRO) of the Marine Corps and a helicopter AB-212 "Gato" of the 3rd Squadronof the Aircraft Flotilla (FLOAN), a model of aircraft that will be retired from service by the Navy in July 2024 to pass at the hands of the Airmobile Forces of the Army (FAMET), joining the Maneuver Helicopter Battalion VI (BHELMA VI) based in Los Rodeos (Tenerife).

A Navy diver descending with the crane of an AB-212 "Gato" helicopter of the 3rd Squadron (Photo: Armada Española).

As reported by the Navy, the Canary Islands Diving Unit has also carried out an exercise to neutralize a drifting mine, deploying from the AB-212 helicopter of the 3rd Squadron. This unit, based at the Las Palmas Arsenal, it has 29 highly qualified divers whose missions include "the protection and defense of warships, docks and facilities against sabotage actions or insidious actions that can be carried out under the waters of the ports and maritime spaces of the Canary archipelago."

An oil maneuver between the BAC "Patiño" and one of the Maritime Action Vessels participating in this exercise (Photo: Armada Española).

The Navy has reported that a total of 400 people are participating in this exercise at sea, carrying out seafaring exercises such as oiling between ships or transshipment of weights at sea, as well as maritime interdiction exercises (that is, visit, search and, if applicable, seizure of vessels) and descent with the fast-rope technique by the Canary Islands Security Unit (USCAN) of the Marine Infantry.

A select shooter from the Canary Islands Security Unit (USCAN) of the Marine Corps, with an Accuracy International Arctic Warfare precision rifle (Photo: Armada Española).

As reported by Radio Televisión Canaria, units from the Army and the Air Force also collaborate in this exercise. The purpose of these maneuvers is "to protect national maritime interests and they will be exercised for eight days through a demanding schedule of exercises."

A Marine with a Browning M-2 heavy machine gun aboard one of the ships participating in this exercise. The BAC "Patiño" carries four of these machine guns on board, while the Maritime Action Vessels carry two each (Photo: Armada Española).

Although these exercises are always scheduled well in advance, in this case they have coincided with the news published a few days ago about a Moroccan NGO that has demanded before the UN the delivery of Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands to Morocco. The Moroccan regime has been dedicated to promoting these types of claims for decades.

The BAC "Patiño" followed by three of the Maritime Action Vessels that participate in this exercise (Photo: Armada Española).

It must be remembered that Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands have been part of Spain long before the Kingdom of Morocco existed. Specifically, the Canary Islands became part of the Crown of Castile in the 15th century, later passing to the Crown of Spain. Since then they have always been part of the Spanish Nation, which has an important military contingent on these islands to protect and guarantee its sovereignty. The deployment of these five ships in the Canary Islands is a clear message from the Spanish Navy to Morocco: these islands are Spanish and cannot be touched.

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