Conflicts & War

Spain ready to defend Nato ‘in any scenario’, says frigate captain

By Imane Rachidi

Reykjavik, May 8 (EFE).- Spain is prepared to defend Nato territory “in any scenario”, Jesus Vinas Barciela, captain of the Alvaro de Bazan Spanish frigate tells Efe.

During an interview aboard the Alvaro de Bazan, currently docked at the port in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik, Vinas Barciela stresses the importance of the North Atlantic Alliance’s annual anti-submarine warfare exercise, Dynamic Mongoose, which tests Nato allies with a range of scenarios.

“We seek to improve our capabilities at an individual and collective level in anti-submarine defense and, of course, holding this exercise in this area sends a message that right now, we are prepared to act in any type of scenario,” he says.

When asked how the war in Ukraine has influenced Spain’s role in Nato, Vinas Barciela points out that the goal at Nato has always been to keep threats at bay through deterrence.

“We are here trying to prevent that from happening to our country. Not just now because of what happened in Ukraine.

“We have spent many years far from our borders, trying to keep all threats far away. The closer they get, the more prepared we will be to deter our adversaries and defend, if necessary, tonight.”

Nato’s standing naval maritime immediate reaction forces, known as SNMG1, have been seeking a “constant and visible update of solidarity and cohesion” in the alliance.

Since April 24, it has mobilized 1,800 people and 12 ships, including the Alvaro de Bazan frigate, for “intense and challenging training” in a 200,000 square-mile area in the North Atlantic.

“These are eminent anti-submarine maneuvers,” he explains, after two weeks of working in “an area of major strategic interest” between Norway and Iceland.

During the exercises, Vinas Barciela explains that they learn how to deal with underwater threats.

“Submarines have a great advantage underwater since they are capable of detecting, locating, and tracking at a great distance.

“We first must be able to distract them and then carry out maneuvers so that they pay attention to other ships and not to our valuable unit.”

Explaining how their capabilities are up to date, Vinas Barciela says: “Capabilities are not only material – they are also our people, our crews are up to date with techniques, tactics and procedures, which, like technology, are advancing very, very quickly,” he explains.

Threats to critical underwater infrastructure have increased since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. In February, Dutch military intelligence services accused Russia of mapping its energy supply system from the North Sea to determine possible points where distribution could be interrupted, something that would possibly affect wind farms, internet cables and gas pipelines.EFE


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