Personnel of the Spanish Air Force Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) detachment in Djibouti, Somalia, received their EU Common Security and Defence Policy Service Medals in recognition of their participation in Operation Atalanta.
The personnel of the 30th Contingent and 57th Rotation at the French base in Djibouti received their medals from Lieutenant Colonel Javier Caballero Calzada on 23rd January 2017.
The MPRA detachment has been based in Djibouti for 9 years. The highly capable Spanish Orion P-3 aircraft has been operating continuously in support of the fight against piracy under the command of EU NAVFOR. It celebrated passing 10,000 flying hours in December 2017 and was involved in the recent detainment of pirates on 19 Nov 2017.
The Orion P-3 aircraft regularly flies along the Somalia Coast, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean on the lookout for any pirate activity, and collecting vital information and intelligence which is used by EU NAVFOR and CMF warships to deter potential threats.
Due to the outstanding efforts of the Spanish Maritime Aircrew, Operation Atalanta helps to ensure that there is no hiding place for would-be Somali pirates. This assists EU NAVFOR and other regional maritime partners in keeping the important sea lanes in the region safe and allowing the free flow of international commerce.