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Sixth Fleet vessels berth in the outer harbor area at Malaga, and Fleet Landing will be established on the Muelle de Canovas, closer to the dockyard's main gate. From the Main Gate (Puerta Principal), it's a couple of minute's walk north to the city center and main shopping area. The local bus station (public services to Torremolinos) is a short distance west of the main gate; the train stations (local and long-distance) are a Minute walk or short taxi ride to the west, across the Guadalmedina riverbed.
Sixth Fleet ports of call are also located throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Ship visits ensure continued access to essential bases and infrastructure. Engagement capitalizes on naval strengths of mobility and sustainability, using the inherent prestige of U.S. flagged warships. Formative engagement is further enhanced by incorporating the full range of naval assets -- including Seabees, the chaplaincy, the Judge Advocate General corps, and civil affairs units -- during port visits.
The Port of Malaga, situated on the south coast of Spain on the famed Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun), is about 65 mi northeast of Gibraltar on the north shore of the Alboran Sea. The Port of Malaga is comprised of three inner harbors and an outer harbor, all of which are bounded by a series of moles and breakwaters. An anchorage used by U.S. Navy ships is located about 0.5 to 1 n mi east of the south end of the east breakwater (Dique del Este). A prominent landmark near Malaga is the Castillo de Gibralfaro, a castle situated at an elevation of 463 ft less than 1 mi north of the port.
The Port of Malaga is bordered on the west and north by the coast of Spain, so wind and/or waves from west-southwest clockwise through east-northeast are not usually a problem to port operations other than the effect they may have on small boat operations. Winds and waves from other directions do cause difficulties at the Port.
East-southeasterly winds and waves are the biggest weather related problem at the Port. Strong east-southeasterly winds reaching force 8 (gale force, 34-40 kt) can be expected 2 or 3 times each winter, and be accompanied by swell waves to 13 ft.
Although the harbor is protected on the east by a long breakwater (Dique del Este), east to southeasterly waves cause major problems in the outer harbor. The west-moving waves refract clockwise around the end of the breakwater and pass through the harbor entrance. By the time the refraction is complete, the waves are moving northeasterly within the outer harbor.
A large grain pier, to which large U.S. Navy ships sometimes moor, is impacted almost broadside by the wave motion. One example of the difficulties which can arise from the situation is that experienced by a U.S. Navy LPH moored to the pier in 1984. Strong southeasterly winds and accompanying waves struck Malaga. While the winds buffeted the upper, exposed portions of the vessel, it was being pushed against the pier in an opposing direction by the refracted waves. The result was a rocking motion of the ship which destroyed one fender and caused minor pier damage.
The southwest-facing harbor entrance also allows waves from the southwest to enter the harbor. Waves of sufficient size and period can create hazardous conditions at the grain pier. Small boating within the harbor may also be adversely affected.
The anchorage, located 0.5 to 1 n mi east of the breakwater, is exposed and vulnerable to the effects of winds and waves from east through southwest. The bottom of the anchorage is mostly mud with some sand and provides good holding, even in high wind/wave conditions. Vessels should normally use a single anchor.
Malaga is the second city of southern Spain (after Seville), and the largest town on the sunny south coast. It was founded by the seafaring Phoenicians around 100 BC, and later occupied by Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Moors. The Moorish occupants from North Africa built the ancient castles you can see overlooking the port from the Gibralfaro hill. Today, Malaga airport is one of Europe's top tourist destinations but few visitors ever visit the town preferring to head straight for the endless seam of beach resorts which stretch east and, most importantly, west along the coast. This is the 'Costa del Sol', a European holiday mecca piled high with hotels and vacationers, sea, sand, sun and fun.
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