German special forces return to Dutch amphibious ship HNLMS Karel Doorman

A German CH-53 Sea Stallion aboard the HNLMS Karel Doorman. Photo: Royal Netherlands Navy

German special forces have returned to training aboard the biggest ship in the Royal Netherlands Navy’s fleet after it spent almost a year undergoing engine repairs.

HNLMS Karel Doorman returned to sea in April this year after completing repairs at the Den Helder base.

The ship’s engine issues caused a pause in the maritime collaboration between Germany and the Netherlands whose defense ministers in February 2016 signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) which allowed the German Navy to use the HLNMS Karel Doorman for operations.

The German Navy needed a ship like Karel Doorman as it does not have significant amphibious capabilities on its own. Another aspect of the maritime cooperation is the integration of the Seebataillon (marines) of the German navy in the Dutch Royal Navy. The Seebataillon consists of several hundred soldiers constituted by divers, amphibious reconnaissance and mine experts. This German unit will come under Dutch command.

With the HNLMS Karel Doormen back at sea, German special forces returned to the ship conducting anti-terror drill during the last three weeks.

The Germans also hired a civillian “target vessel” for a hostage-release scenario. During the exercise, Dutch and German commandos deployed fast boats and helicopters towards the target vessel from the HNLMS Karel Doorman using it as a command ship.

HNLMS Karel Doorman was built by Damen in Galati, Romania. The 204-meter ship was launched in October 2012 and commissioned into the Royal Netherlands Navy in April 2015.

 

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