Returned today to Taranto Nave Martinengo. Departed on 1 September and after more than 111 days of operational activity, the frigate left the turbulent waters of the Gulf of Guinea, where it has operated since September. A brief logistical stop in Spain, at the Rota Naval Base, where the Italian frigate was interested in the visit of the Italian ambassador of Spain and Andorra, if Riccardo Guariglia, and the unit resumed navigation to its base in Taranto .
The activity of Ship Martinengo it was a clear example of the commitment of the Italian Navy to the security and protection of national interests in the most complex international theaters, such as the Gulf of Guinea, the area in the world today most affected by piracy phenomena.
The unit has successfully completed the operations it has been called upon to carry out in these waters, in favor of the protection of the free movement of goods by sea and the freedom of navigation. Taking advantage of two SH-90 helicopters and three inflatable boats, the crew of the Martinengo and the specialized teams of the Marine Brigade on board Saint Mark (BMSM) and the 4th helicopter group, were able to intervene effectively in numerous operational scenarios.
16.500 miles traveled, 143 hours of flight, more than 500 monitored merchant units, 164 interrogations, almost daily contacts with 87 Italian merchant units or units belonging to the national armory operating in the area, are just some of the numbers that characterized this mission.
But the most significant memory that the women and men of Nave Martinengo they will bring with them, are the words of thanks received from other seamen engaged in those waters aboard the merchant vessels, who have on several occasions expressed gratitude for the feeling of safety transmitted by the presence of the Italian military ship and, even more, on the occasion of direct interventions to protect seafarers. In fact, there were several piracy events in which the Italian frigate intervened. Starting from the most relevant, on November 7, when the unit foiled an ongoing pirate attack on the Singapore-flagged ship "Torm Alexandra", putting the pirates to flight, even engaged in a brief firefight with the onboard helicopter. After just 7 days, the unit intervened again in support of the ship "Zhen Hua 7", on board which was a seriously injured seaman of Chinese nationality who was rescued by the medical staff of the Italian frigate and subsequently transferred by helicopter. to the nearest hospital on the island of Sao Tome and Principe. In two other cases Nave Martinengo was able to locate and assist two merchant units whose traces had been lost, in one case even for 6 long days, following attacks of piracy.
Among the operational goals achieved, the important coordination opportunity offered by the simultaneous presence in the area of other allied navies, the United States, France and Spain in particular, and of capacity building and cooperation with regional navies. Ghana, Togo, Benin, Ivory Coast, Congo and in particular Nigeria, are the countries with which Marines have been joint exercises with the shared objective of increasing interoperability between the various assets and helping to improve the conditions of maritime security in the region.
Lastly, no less important were the maritime safety exercises organized in competition with the associations of the national armory CONFITARMA and ASSARMATORI and which involved the tanker Enrico Fermi and the container carrier MSC Augusta in realistic anti-piracy scenarios, as well as an exercise developed with an installation off-shore managed by ENI in Nigeria. Ambassador Guariglia showed a lot of interest and appreciation for the activity of the Navy in the Gulf of Guinea, then extending his greeting and appreciation to a representative of the crew that he was able to meet on the flight deck of the unit, with the utmost respect of the Covid-19 regulations implemented by the on-board command. During his greeting, the ambassador underlined the diplomatic role of the units of the Navy, as embassies of our country in the seas and countries of the world where they are used. For the ship's crew Martinengo, the visit by an authoritative authority such as the Italian ambassador of Spain and Andorra, was a gratifying moment as a corollary to the intense work carried out in recent months to protect national interests.