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The Latest Addition to the Spanish Armada

Sometimes it happens that I get excited. This mostly happens when I get a chance to do something or go somewhere that I have longed to do or to go to for a very long time.

Like the other day, I read in the papers that a day of Puertas Abiertas (Day of Open Doors) was happening at Palma’s Estación Naval (Naval Base) in Portopí. That’s a military zone and no-one is ever allowed anywhere near. I have tried on numerous occasions and it has never worked for me. Now, visits were allowed for a couple of days because the Meteoro, the latest addition to Spain’s naval Armada, had come to Palma, and the public was to be allowed a glance from a close-up range. Off I went.

I must say that I left it a bit late. I went there within the afternoon spell that had been announced in the newspapers but, no such luck. When I got there I was barred from entry into the military compound. The Open Doors had been suspended. Apparently, the ship had opted to depart an hour earlier than had been scheduled. I could not go in, but, I was advised that I might still be able to see the Meteoro from the nearby shopping centre, the Porto Pi Centre, if I hurried. Well, I could just make it in time, and the photo (top) is the result of my finding the place, finding a spot where to park my car, rush up to the top floor terrace, and see her sailing away. The Meteoro is an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) of the most modern engineering, in fact, the latest generation as far as the Spanish Navy’s fleet is concerned, and it looks a bit like a sneaky stealth cruiser.

The vessel was built by Spanish shipyard Navantia, formerly Bazán or IZAR, the fifth largest shipbuilder in Europe. The ship is fully automated and is operated with a nautical crew of 35 men plus 20 military marines. The boat is equipped with one NH-90 helicopter. The Meteoro is the first of 4 ships of this Spanish OPV type. She was launched in July 2011. A second ship, the Rayo, was launched in October 2011. Two more ships are under construction now, and another 4 OPVs have been authorised to be built.

I still haven’t made it to the Naval Base in Portopí, yet. Excitement has to be put on hold for now. But, let’s not despair.

Here’s a better photo with more detail for the boat spotting community out there.

The photo (top) was taken in Palma, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: December 8th, 2011. The time was 17:31:58. The photo (bottom) was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of wikipedia.org.

Muchas gracias.

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