The ICTS FLOTA is composed of 10 oceanographic vessels, each with technical management and financing by the Central Government. These oceanographic vessels fundamentally provide services to campaigns being carried out within the framework of the Spanish State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation and of the framework programme of the European Union, as well as the specific responsibilities assigned to different Public Research Organizations of the General Secretariat for Scientific Policy Coordination. The on-board technical support of the oceanographic vessels of the campaigns approved by the Commission for the Coordination and Monitoring of Oceanographic Vessels Activities (COCSABO) is provided by the Marine Technology Unit of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The ICTS FLOTA consists of the infrastructures, BIO Hespérides, CSIC Fleet, IEO Fleet and BIO SOCIB.
The COCSABO attached to the General Secretariat for Scientific Policy Coordination of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, is in charge of the proposal and coordination of scientific or technical actions carried out by scientific research vessels of the ICTS FLOTA.
The BIO Hespérides entered into service in 1991 and since then has carried out more than 120 oceanographic campaigns in the Antarctic, Arctic, and in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The important role that it plays in the field of oceanographic research was recognized in 1995 as a Large Scientific Facility by the Advisory Commission for Large Scientific Facilities, currently known as Unique Scientific and Technical Infrastructure (ICTS). The BIO Hespérides is a vessel of the Navy integrated into the Maritime Task Force of the Spanish Navy, based in Cartagena (Murcia). Its scientific equipment is completely managed by the Marine Technology Unit of the CSIC. Its hull is reinforced for the navigation of the polar areas of the Antarctic and the Arctic. Its main activity focuses on austral summers, carrying out scientific research campaigns in the Antarctic and occasionally providing support to Spanish Antarctic Facilities and their research projects. The rest of the year its activities are primarily carried out in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean, providing support to different scientific campaigns, such as the mapping programme of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Ministry of Defence. It is a global research vessel with instrumentation and laboratories that allow for investigation of natural resources and risks, global change, marine resources, global ocean currents, and marine biodiversity.