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Ecuadorian Navy - Armada
(Fuerza Naval del Ecuador (FNE)

The Navy of the Ecuador is composed of more than 8,000 brave men and women who offered their lives every day for the country, a group of people composed of officers, crew members and civil servants, serving with vocation, loyalty and professionalism in order to build a modern, efficient Navy always ready to face any adversity.

Ecuador's national maritime interests are the protection of its Economic Exclusive Zone and maritime communication lines; and in the case of an hemispherical threat, the navies of this region will have to share the responsibilities for protection of vital maritime communication lines. UNITAS operations have underscored the joint exercises between the navies of Ecuador, the USA, and other countries, on both the Atlantic and the Pacific sides of the Panama Canal. Ecuador possesses naval and aeronaval facilities along the Pacific coast and in the Galapagos Islands which are located 600 miles west of the continent.

Ecuador claims a 320-kilometer-wide (200-mi.) territorial sea. In 1952, Chile, Ecuador and Peru issued the Santiago Declaration, the first international instrument to declare a 200-mile limit. The Declaration made a significant conceptual leap, however, asserting not merely jurisdiction for the purpose of managing natural resources and fisheries, but that each State "possesses sole sovereignty and jurisdiction over the area of sea adjacent to its own country and extending not less than 200 nautical miles from the said coast." Freedom of navigation was restricted to "the innocent and inoffensive passage of vessels of all nations through the zone aforesaid." The United States, in contrast, claims a 12-mile boundary and jurisdiction for the management of coastal fisheries up to 320 kilometers (200 mi.) from its coast, but excludes highly migratory species. Although successive Ecuadorian governments have declared a willingness to explore possible solutions to this issue, the U.S. and Ecuador have yet to resolve fundamental differences concerning the recognition of territorial waters.

In the 1980s, the Ecuadorian Navy recognized that the management of the country's coastal resources was a national priority. Demands of intensified development pressure, increasing public awareness of the complexities and value of coastal resources, and the natural disasters along the coastal fringe associated with a severe El Nino in 1982-83 all underscored this need for coastal management. The signing of the Law nf the Sea Treaty by 119 countries in 1982, which provided Ecuador with jurisdiction over approximately one million square kilometers of ocean, also played a part in the new emphasis on coastal resources.

The origin of the Ecuadorian navy could be traced to the independence era when British officers in the service of Bolívar assembled a small squadron at Guayaquil. An 1832 congressional decree formally established the navy. By the time of the Great War the Navy consisted of three vessels, the Libertador Rolivar, a torpedo gunboat of 800 tons, the Cotopaxi, and an old destroyer, the Tarijui.

As of 1988, the navy had a personnel complement of approximately 5,000, including 1,000 marines. Its varied missions included preparing and maintaining the fleet during peacetime for naval operations in wartime; controlling ocean and river communications; protecting territorial waters, the coastline, and rivers; participating in operations in conjunction with other branches of the armed forces; regulating the merchant marine; promoting the development of the naval construction industry; overseeing the installation and maintenance of aids to navigation; and preparing hydrographic charts.

The country was divided into three naval zones. The first, headquartered at Guayaquil, had jurisdiction over the southern provinces and the territorial waters adjacent to the coastal provinces of Manabí, Guayas, and El Oro. The second had authority over the Galápagos archipelago and surrounding territorial seas and operated from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristóbal Island. The third, with headquarters at Quito, had jurisdiction over the northern provinces and the territorial seas adjacent to the coastal province of Esmeraldas. The navy also had bases at Guayaquil, San Lorenzo, Salinas, and Jaramijó.

The Naval Operations Command, represented by the Commander of naval operations and the first Naval zone, has as missions development of maritime capabilities, through operational enlistment, operational logistics, research and military technological development; in order to contribute to the defence of the sovereignty and the integrity of territorial and maritime police authority exercise; and with its contingent support to national development and public security and the State. Powers and responsibilities:

  • commanding them operations naval and operations of support to the action of the State, of conformity to the standards legal force and military plans that issue the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
  • maintain control of the sea.
  • plan and contribute to the implementation of the operations of maritime control of the exclusive economic zone.
  • plan, implement and evaluate the training of naval or joint operations.
  • manage the operational logistics to naval operations, support for the action of the State and the exercise of maritime police.
  • update the order of battle.
  • direct the development of maritime capabilities in accordance to the legal and technical rules inherent in the naval field.
  • propose guidelines for the strengthening of the maritime capabilities.
  • upgrading internal rules and doctrinal manuals for the development of maritime capabilities.
  • to coordinate the maintenance and recovery of the operating units.
  • establish operational requirements that boost research and military technological development for the strengthening of the maritime capabilities.
  • to provide equipment and personnel for the support in the event of natural disasters.
  • exercise the legal attribution in accordance with the code of maritime police in the processes of accidents occurring in their jurisdiction.

Operationally, the navy was organized into a destroyer division, a squadron of fast-missile craft, a squadron of corvettes, a submarine squadron, and auxiliary vessels and transports. A naval aviation unit, equipped mainly with light reconnaissance and liaison aircraft, supported the fleet by patrolling territorial seas and coastlines, combating smuggling, and performing logistical tasks. A small coast guard, formed in 1980, controlled maritime traffic, interdicted drug and contraband traffic, and enforced Ecuadorian maritime law. Equipped with twenty coastal patrol craft, most of which were twelve to fifteen meters in length, the coast guard had a personnel strength of 200 as of 1988.

The Navy of Ecuador is responsible in wartime to safeguard maritime sovereignty of Ecuador and in peacetime is responsible for controlling illegal activities such as fuel smuggling, illegal migration, illegal fishing, drug trafficking, among others. For this, the Navy has an operational force effective response, which is able to react and execute naval operations immediately and efficiently in response to conflict prevention and crisis management that affect national security. The Naval Fleet is the operational body to maintain a high degree of operational readiness of the surface units assigned to the fulfillment of naval operations, reflecting the raison d'etre of the Navy Ecuadorian war, comprises all units surface with which it preserves our territorial sea and executes operations naval exercise and training staff. It is made up Squadron Frigates, Corvettes Squadron, Squadron of missile boats and ships Auxiliary Squadron.

The Submarine Squadron maintains a high degree of operational readiness of the submarine units, assigned to the fulfillment of Naval Operations. The degree of professionalism and experience gained by staff officers and crew divers have overcome problems of all kinds, modifying and even perfecting certain systems but always thinking about security as the bottom of the sea, shared the same philosophy " We all depend on everyone." Submarines constantly have participated in training operations and exercising sovereignty in the jurisdictional sea, it has also been part of multinational forces in combined operations "UNITAS" both in our country and in Peru and Colombia, where our submarines received public endorsements Cards , by the Commanders of the units belonging to friendly countries participating.

Training of enlisted naval personnel took place primarily at the Center of Naval Instruction at the Salinas Naval Training Base. In addition to basic training, the center provided a variety of basic and advanced specialized courses, such as electronics, radio operation, gunnery, and administration. Naval cadets attended the Advanced Naval Academy (Escuela Superior Naval) at Salinas in a four-year program that stressed the humanities, scientific subjects, naval science, and physical training. Cadets also completed practice cruises on board a three-masted sailing vessel.

Located in Guayaquil, the Naval War College was the service's senior instructional institution and prepared officers, generally at the level of commander, for higher ranks and general staff duty. The two-year course of study covered such topics as strategy and tactics, logistics, geopolitics, operational planning, intelligence, and international maritime law, together with sociology, economics, and other nonmilitary subjects.

By 2008 the Government of Ecuador had made considerable progress in combating narcotics trafficking destined for the United States. However, a dramatic increase in the quantity of cocaine transported toward the United States using Ecuadorian-flagged ships remained an area of serious concern. Effective cooperation and streamlined maritime operational procedures between the U.S. Coast Guard and Ecuadorian Navy resulted in an increase in the amount of cocaine interdicted. Building on that cooperation, the US planned to work with Ecuador to change the circumstances that made Ecuadorian-flagged vessels and Ecuadorian citizenship so attractive to drug traffickers.

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Page last modified: 01-08-2016 17:47:26 ZULU