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Friday, October 16, 2015

RCN In Talks To Lease Spanish AOR in 2016

By David Pugliese and Esteban Villarejo of defensenews.com 

Spain and Canada are negotiating a mutual logistic arrangement (MLSA) to deploy a Spanish replenishment ship with the Canadian fleet in the North Atlantic, both navies confirmed.

The ship deployed "during some periods of 2016" could be the auxiliary oiler and replenishment ship (AOR) Cantabria or Patiño, Spanish Navy sources said. The logistic arrangement is "to cover the Canadian navy's temporary need of logistic support vessels."

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The Spanih AOR Cantabria Photo: Spanish Navy

The Cantabria or Patiño would support training for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Atlantic fleet starting in January. "No end date for the use of that support ship has been established," said Royal Canadian Navy spokeswoman Lt. Linda Coleman. “Negotiations are still ongoing and the MLSA is not yet finalized.”

But starting on Oct. 18, Royal Canadian Navy sailors will be serving on the Spanish Navy supply ship Cantabria. Navy spokesman Lt. Len Hickey said 28 sailors will be on the ship to conduct training during NATO's TRIDENT JUNCTURE 15 exercise. Hickey said the training is focused on replenishment-at-sea activities as well as familiarity of engineering systems on the ship. The Canadians will be on the ship until Nov. 10, Hickey said.

The Spanish AOR Cantabria deployed with the Royal Australian Navy in 2013. The government of Australia paid the expenses of that deployment during the year. The Spanish Ministry of Defense is expected to reach a similar arrangement with the Royal Canadian Navy.

This year Canada selected the German Navy's Berlin-class design to replace its two Protecteur-class supply ships, which have been removed from service.