Dutch frigate joins Operation Atalanta task force


The newest addition to the EUNavFor task force off the Horn of Africa is the Dutch frigate HNLMS De Zeven Provencien. She joined the Operation Atalanta fleet this week.

She joins current flagship FGS Brandenburg from the Kriegsmarine, the French frigate FS Floreal, the Meteoro Class offshore patrol vessel ESPS Relampago and the Kriegsmarine replenishment vessel FGS Rhon along with maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, P-3M Orion (Spain), Fairchild SW3 Merlin (Luxembourg) and P-3C Orion (Germany) as the currently deployed task force.

En route to the Gulf of Aden to take up position in the task force the Dutch frigate conducted a hostage release exercise with a Dutch merchant vessel and embarked a Maltese boarding team in preparation for the counter-piracy tasking.

She was also involved in a distress call response following a man overboard call from another merchant vessel.

Commanding Officer Commander Ruud Schoonen said his ship and its crew successfully completed all pre-deployment training and was “looking forward” to conducting counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.

De Zeven Provincien-class frigates are air-defence and command frigates in service with the Royal Netherlands Navy since 2002. HNLMS De Zeven Provencien was the first of the class and commissioned in April 2002. It is the eighth ship to bear the name De Zeven Provencien which comes from the original seven provinces of the Netherlands following the Treaty of Utrecht.

EUNavFor’s Operation Atalanta has been running off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden since December 2008.

Its five-pronged mandate is protection of World Food Programme (WFP) vessels delivering aid to displaced persons in Somalia; protection of AMISON shipping; the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery; protection of vulnerable shipping on a case by case basis and monitoring fishing activities off the Somali coast.