The mine hunter Tagus (M-36) set out for the port of Istanbul, Turkey to join the Permanent Mine Action Group No. 2 (SNMCMG-2), which consists of NATO ships and is under Turkish rule at the time. The ship was fired by the commander of the anti-mine action force, Captain Miguel Cuartero Lorenzo, accompanied by members of his general staff, the commander of the 1st mine hunter squadron and the commanders of the other mine hunters stationed in the port …
After an intense draft phase, the final phase was marked by the context of the COVID-19 health crisis, which forced the crew to be split into shifts to complete upcoming tasks and use the Navy’s teleworking skills to ensure health and safety. Before leaving, a strict prevention protocol (test-quarantine-vaccination test) was carried out for all employees and reserves. Preventive and protective measures will be an essential element during this mission.
The Tajo’s participation in the support of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian to contribute to the knowledge of the maritime environment of the Mediterranean and protection from potential threats to maritime restrictions from the pandemic has been enthusiastically received by the crew.
During the period in which the ship is integrated into the SNMCMG-2 under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS), it has the task of ensuring the freedom of action and maritime navigation through the hunt for mines or explosive devices and the surveillance of the Seabed at the entrances to some ports in the Mediterranean countries. Also, be ready to respond and act in the event of a crisis in the scenarios where it is necessary.
The ship also plans to take part in the multinational exercises POSEIDON in the Black Sea, ARIADNE in Greece and ITALIAN MINEX in Italy. On his return to Spain he took part in the multinational exercise of the Spanish Navy MINEX in the waters of the Balearic Archipelago. The naval ship is scheduled to return to Cartagena in early May.
The Tajo mine hunter belongs to the First Mine Hunters Squadron of the Spanish Navy and can carry out various missions. In peacetime, guarantee the absence of mines on the routes from the sea to the port in all possible scenarios and serve as a guide for merchant ships to the port. On the other hand, it conducts mine clearance operations during wartime and uses secure channels to guide ships potentially susceptible to receiving mines to the port. It was built in EN Bazn (predecessor of Navantia) in Cartagena. It was launched on June 10, 2004 and handed over to the Navy on January 10, 2005. It has participated in various types of missions under the flag of EUROMARFOR or NATO in SNMCMG-2 and has been stationed in the Persian Gulf. He is the only Spanish mine hunter to have crossed the Suez Canal so far. It has also participated in various exercises, maneuvers and operations to ensure the absence of mines on routes for all types of ships at an international level. Some of these are Italian Minex, Olives Noires, Ariadne, and NATO operations like Innas Bahr.
SNMCMG-2 provides NATO with permanent capability for anti-mine action (MCM). Its main role is to keep the Alliance’s main ports, naval bases and sea lanes open to traffic, as well as to enable amphibious operations to project sea power over land through the detection, location, identification and neutralization of mines. Spain is expected to take command of this permanent group in the second half of this year.
Text and photo: Spanish Navy.
Copyright © Grupo Edefa SA Reproduction, in whole or in part, of this article is prohibited without the prior authorization of the publisher.