The Government delivers four new patrol boats to the Maritime Service of the Spanish Civil Guard

The Ministers of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, have presided this Monday in the port of Vigo the act of delivery to the Civil Guard of the last of the four newly built patrol boats, baptized such as “Río Luna”, which will be used for fishing inspection work. The event was also attended by the mayor of Vigo, Abel Caballero.

Grande-Marlaska has underlined the importance of this delivery and highlighted the necessary institutional collaboration between administrations to respond to the present and future challenges of society, “in short, to the needs of the citizens we serve”.

The minister recalled that “not only on land we prevent and prosecute crimes” but also the sea is the scene of “aggressions and illegal acts”. Thus, it has vindicated the “impeccable” track record of the Maritime Service of the Civil Guard which, since its creation in 1991, “has been protecting the free exercise of rights and freedoms for more than thirty years and guaranteeing citizen security in our seas and oceans”, in support of the more than eight thousand vessels that are part of the Spanish fishing fleet.

Minister Planas, for his part, stressed that these new material means are necessary for Spain to consolidate its position as world leader in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

He pointed out that, thanks to this collaboration between ministries -which is reflected each year in the Annual Plan for the Comprehensive Control of Fishing Activities and by which the Civil Guard’s means of fishing surveillance are modernized- “we give greater security to a sector responsible fishing industry, which complies with the regulations and offers greater guarantees to consumers”.

Patrol boats financed with PRTR funds

In the construction of these new generation patrol boats, 26 million euros have been invested, financed with “Next Generation” funds from the European Union. This renewal and modernization of the fishing inspection fleet is included in the Plan to Promote Sustainability, Research, Innovation and Digitization of the Fishing Sector framed in the Recovery Plan. Transformation and Resilience (PRTR).

The purpose of the PRTR is to improve the sustainability of the fishing activity in a triple dimension: environmental, economic and social. To this end, this plan also contemplates the modernization of fishing vessels, as well as investments to advance scientific knowledge so that decision-making in fisheries management is appropriate.

These vessels replace four, already somewhat obsolete, of the 7 that make up the fishing inspection fleet that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) has ceded to the Civil Guard, by virtue of the collaboration agreement it maintains with the Ministry of the Interior since 1997, renovated in 2019, which also includes four helicopters.

The ministers Grande-Marlaska and Luis Planas have highlighted the good collaboration between the two ministries, essential to ensure that the fishing activity is carried out with the necessary guarantees of legality and without prejudice to the majority of the sector, which complies with the regulations established for it to be sustainable and offer consumers safe food.

In 2022 alone, the General Secretariat for Fisheries carried out 9,088 inspections, for which a good number of them had the collaboration and support of the Civil Guard. These joint actions have made it possible to detect captures of prohibited species, sales of immature fish, use of non-regulated fishing gear or poaching.

For its part, the Civil Guard Maritime Service, created in 1991, carries out the functions assigned to the Civil Guard in Spanish maritime waters and inland waters, particularly coastal custody, and includes more than 1,300 effective. Also part of it is the Group of Specialists in Underwater Activities, with more than 200 civil guards.

Spain, a leading country in the fight against illegal fishing

With the renewal of the fleet dedicated to inspection, the Government of Spain reinforces the material means to consolidate its leadership position in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, which poses a threat to marine ecosystems and a notable detriment to legal fishing activity and the survival of the fleet, on which the economies of many coastal areas depend.

Spain is the only Member State of the European Union (EU) whose fisheries inspection system has an ISO quality certificate. The European Court of Auditors has recognized in a report the excellence of the control system and the fight against illegal fishing in Spain, which has sophisticated computer systems for this purpose. This outstanding work, according to Planas, is consistent with the responsibility that corresponds to Spain, which has the largest fishing fleet in the European Union, more than 8,600 vessels, operating in the five oceans.

The renewed fleet

With the delivery of the “Río Luna” vessel, the package of four new patrol boats for fishing inspection built between 2022 and 2023 is completed. Previously, the Río Sil, Río Guadiato and Río Riaza patrol boats were already delivered. All of them have been built by the ARMON shipyard at its headquarters in Navia (Asturias) and Burela (Lugo). These boats replace the already obsolete Río Nervión, Río Andarax, Río Almanzora and Río Guadiaro.

The new patrol boats are tall vessels with a length of 35 meters and a beam of 7.8 meters. They are equipped with the latest technology, including hybrid engines and stabilizer fins that will reduce CO2 emissions, lower fuel costs and maximize their use due to increased stability and comfort in boarding. Its design allows the crew, in a simple and intuitive way, to monitor and control different systems on board, power plant management, tank levels and communication with the main engines, among others.