Lisbon, Viana do Castelo, Portimão, Funchal and Praia da Vitória
Portugal’s Navy is working on a plan for five logistics bases – in Lisbon, Viana do Castelo, Portimão, Funchal (Madeira) and Praia da Vitória (Azores) – to ensure “greater geographical dispersion” which, it believes, would bring “inherent advantages at operational and recruitment level”.
A source cited by tabloid Correio da Manhã says the project is still in its planning stages, but seeks to create support bases which will eventually be able to perform maintenance on vessels that find themselves in the area (instead of these having to be concentrated in one central shipyard).
In a way it is a form of ‘regionalisation’ of the Navy, that would also allow the posting of military who ‘come from the locality’, thus increasing the ‘offer of placements outside Lisbon’.
On an operations level, the plan would allow a ‘pre-positioning of ships’, not just for the purposes of coastal vigilance and maritime security but ‘for strategic objectives’, the source intimated – giving examples of ‘critical submarine infrastructure’ in the Azores (principally undersea cabling networks) and the ‘anti-submarine’ battle; of ‘access to the African coast and Gulf of Guinea’ in Madeira, and of the combat of drug trafficking “and other threats from the south” in the Algarve.
The Viana do Castelo base would be more geared towards patrolling fishing activity, said CM.
These objectives tie in with those given by the Navy’s Commander in Chief Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo who stressed recently that his three-year mandate is focused on transforming the Navy into “a truly useful, significant, comprehensive and technologically advanced instrument at the service of the Portuguese State”.
Admiral Gouveia e Melo added that “this is a huge job”, that takes up “110% of my brain”, which is why he has no interest whatsoever, he says, in becoming a contender in the next elections for the country’s president.