Another working day in Caniçal port. The departures of the M/V's "Monte da Guia" and "Funchalense 5" were the only operations scheduled for the entire day. However, we have received a visit of a naval unit. The "NRP Baptista de Andrade" visited us in a routine call, for provisions and fresh water, before heading South, to the waters of Guiné-Bissau.
Things are not good in those latitudes, with a new military "coup d'etat" on the streets. Although the situation seems to be calming down over there, at least according to what we can see in the news, the Portuguese government decided for the deployment of a naval task force to the proximity of that African country, to help the evacuation of the Portuguese citizens living there in the case that things go rough.
This force, called Força de Reacção Imediata (Immediate Reaction Force), is composed by a Meko 200 frigate (the NRP Vasco da Gama), a logistic vessel (the NRP Bérrio) and the corvette NRP Baptista de Andrade. Besides the naval units, the task force counts also with the air support of a Lockheed P-3 Orion, a Lockheed C-130 Hercules and the organic Lynx helicopter of the NRP Vasco da Gama. From all the vessels, the NRP Baptista de Andrade was the only one to touch land, in a routine call, on the voyage to the South.
The NRP Baptista de Andrade is a Spanish-built vessel (under portuguese design and specifications), by the Bazan shipyards. She was launched in 1973 and she gives her name to a class of four very similar vessels. Besides the Baptista de Andrade, the class comprises also the NRP João Roby, the NRP Afonso Cerqueira and the NRP Oliveira e Carmo.
They were built with the conflicts of the Portuguese ex-colonies in mind (the Portuguese Colonial War), so they were made pretty much with specifications for the African waters. However, with the Portuguese African Empire collapsing in 1974-75, these vessels had to adapt themselves to marine patrols in more rough waters: the Portuguese North-Atlantic. Looking for their almost forty years of service, it seems that they adapted quite well.
Name: NRP Baptista de Andrade
Pennant number: F486
Class: Baptista de Andrade
Propulsion: Two diesel Pielstick engines, two shafts, two fixed propellers, 10000 HP total.
Max speed: 23 Kts
Autonomy: 10600 Kms at 18 Kts speed
Armament: 1 x 100mm piece, 2 x AA 40mm Bofors gun, 2 triple launchers for 324mm topedos
Crew: max 122 persons
The NRP Baptista de Andrade and the NRP Schultz Xavier, side-by-side, berthed in the South breakwater of the Caniçal port. In the foreground, on manoeuvre, the tug "Boqueirão", from the port administration.
The NRP Baptista de Andrade alongside the Caniçal South breakwater. Photo taken from the North terminal.
At 1900, the NRP Baptista de Andrade left the port of Caniçal and headed to the waters of Guiné-Bissau. Godspeed gents.